Pine Hills: Many Cultures, One Bright Future

Community Planning Assistance Team Report



The Pine Hills community located just outside of Orlando, Florida, is one of Orange County's oldest and largest neighborhoods. It was originally developed in the 1950s as a suburb for workers of the Martin Marietta Corporation. In the 1980s and 1990s, newer housing developments were built in the county attracting residents away. Many long-time businesses also left Pine Hills. Disinvestment coupled with external negative perceptions of Pine Hills have plagued the community's residents and business owners. The Pine Hills area was also a target of subprime lending practices during the housing boom, leading to 4,000 foreclosure filings between 2008 and 2010.

Despite the area's economic decline, several organized local groups are active, and Orange County has shown significant support for community redevelopment efforts in recent years. The Orange County Planning Division requested a CPAT to aid its efforts in creating a strategy for moving many of the findings and recommendations from previous studies forward. In particular, the planning division sought guidance with the area surrounding the intersection of Silver Star Road and North Pine Hills Road, which is the focus of their efforts to develop a vibrant, mixed-use, town center in Pine Hills.

The team's report includes an analysis of existing conditions, including a market assessment, the land use plan for the area, and master plan recommendation for the new town center. The report also provides a development program with investment requirements for housing, retail, business and employment, and public realm improvements. The team also developed a community branding package for Pine Hills to celebrate the diversity of cultures and variety of experiences in the neighborhood.

Meet the Team

Graham Billingsley, FAICP
Team Leader

Graham Billingsley, FAICP

Graham Billingsley has significant experience covering more than 30 years of practice. Educated in planning, landscape architecture, and architecture — and with experience in all three fields — he is able to develop solutions designed to solve a problem specifically for a community. For 23 years, Billingsley was in the public sector, first in Dallas then for 18 years in Boulder County, Colorado. He has developed land use codes and conducted studies or projects in comprehensive planning, housing, economic development, downtown revitalization, demographic and economic analysis, opinion surveying, landscape architecture, architecture, historic preservation, urban design, and process management.

Aaron Arnett, AICP
Team Member

Aaron Arnett, AICP

Aaron Arnett is a principal in the firm Arnett Muldrow & Associates in Greenville, South Carolina. He has Bachelor of Architecture and Master of City and Regional Planning degrees, both from Clemson University. Arnett has worked in all areas of urban planning and for the past 12 years has worked in the private sector focusing on small town and downtown revitalization. Arnett Muldrow and Associates specializes in downtown economic development, historic preservation, and community branding. The firm was created to help communities that want to rebuild their aging downtown, reinvigorate their urban neighborhoods, and create economic development opportunities. To date, the firm has completed projects in over 300 communities in 32 states.

Claire Hempel, AICP
Team Member

Claire Hempel, AICP, LEED GA

Claire Hempel is project manager/associate and operations manager for Design workshop's Austin, Texas, office overseeing a wide range of projects currently including streetscapes, community planning efforts and urban design efforts. Hempel holds a master's degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a Landscape Architecture bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University. She has eight years of landscape architecture practice working in both the private and public sectors in Houston and the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area. Hempel has been a task leader for projects that include urban and regional parks, resort and high-rise design, and comprehensive community and environmental planning. Her professional interests include public engagement, planning on multiple scales and empowering smaller communities.

Robert Lewis, AICP
Team Member

Robert Lewis, AICP

Bob Lewis directs economic research and planning projects at Development Strategies, based in St. Louis. He was part of the team that created Development Strategies in 1988 after 10 years with Team Four and two years with the St. Louis County Department of Planning. He was named president in 2000. The focus of his professional work is analyzing the market, economic, and organizational forces that influence urban planning, economic growth, and real estate development. His consulting services yield strategic recommendations for clients seeking to maximize economic value. Clients include local governments, private property owners, corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, and institutions all around the USA.


Page Count
Date Published
Aug. 15, 2014
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents


The Purpose of the CPAT Initiative

Guiding Values

Program Background

Project Overview


Recent Planning Studies


Interviews and Tuesday Workshop Results

Economics & Demographic Analysis

Land Use Concepts

Wednesday Night Feedback

Final Land Use Plan

Development Program



Business and Employment

Public Realm Improvements

Investment Requirements

Community Identity

Brand Values

Brand Attributes

Brand Statement

Brand Recommendations


Meet the Team

Picture Gallery