Davidson’s planning department has won three awards in the annual awards program of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association. The statewide group recognized the town for planning in the Exit 30 area; for the 2010 Comprehensive Plan; and for its ongoing commitment to the 2001 affordable housing ordinance.
“We are obviously honored that they would recognize us in a number of ways,” town planning manager Lauren Blackburn said Monday. “It also demonstrates our comprehensive approach to community building. There seems to be a lot of respect and interest in our processes.”
Town officials will accept the awards at the N.C. Annual Planning Conference Awards Lunch Oct. 6 in Charlotte.
The town won an award in the Implementation category for small communities for the way it coordinated the simultaneous development of multiple projects in the Exit 30 area, which town officials refer to as “Circles at 30.” The area, which is still under development, began as a series of individual master plans for the so-called “Northeast and Southeast quadrants” along Griffith Street, east of I-77.
Those development plans have included hotels, residential neighborhoods, a grocery store, private and charter schools, a gas station/urban market, public parks, and shopping and office centers.
“They have changed over the course of the last 20 years,” Ms. Blackburn said Monday. As many as 15 to 20 developers and property owners have been involved.
“The most significant accomplishment was coordinating all of those plans,” she said. The town did that in part by hosting monthly meetings of developers and builders to talk about how they fit together, and to coordinate infrastructure planning, including construction of the two roundabouts off Exit 30.
The 2009-10 community process that led to adoption of the town’s current Comprehensive Plan won an honorable mention in the Comprehensive Planning category for small towns. The plan was the result of nearly 18 months of work by 180 residents on a series of volunteer citizen committees. It laid out a new long-term vision for Davidson that will have an influence planning policies for years to come.
Davidson also won an award for Community Development for its commitment to the 2001 Affordable Housing ordinance, and in particular for sticking to the ordinance through tough times. (Davidson is one of only three cities or towns in the state to require that a portion of new housing be built so it is affordable to people whose income falls below federal income standards.)
“While our ordinance has been in place for about 10 years now, we have maintained that commitment even during the economic downturn,” Ms. Blackburn said. In particular, that has included hiring the town’s first affordable housing coordinator, Cindy Reid.
The planning association said the special theme award “recognizes communities and programs that exemplify outstanding planning and achievement in serving low-income neighborhoods and/or disadvantaged minority communities through the use of community development plans or projects.”
NC-APA.org, website of the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association.
Sept. 8, 2010, “Davidson gets a pat on the back for ‘livability’”
Nov. 11, 2009, “N.C. planners honor former Mayor Kincaid.”
Jan. 27, 2009, “At meeting, study groups begin planning process.”