Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Transportation Authority Bus
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Pioneer Valley Smart Growth Jury Comments for 2007

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Overall the jury was quite pleased by the response to the first Pioneer Valley Smart Growth Awards. It was very encouraging to see a body of work in the region that thoughtfully embraces smart growth principles as each project addresses in varying degrees the basic criteria categories of:

  1. Location
  2. The three Ds of smart development: density, design and diversity of use
  3. Affordable housing
  4. Transportation, mobility accessibility
  5. Environment
  6. Community assets and participation were excellent in their own right sharing many qualities.

Several projects embrace the integration of green infrastructure with growth infrastructure while supporting healthy environments and water systems. Many of the projects shown today create neighborhoods that include rather than exclude by providing housing choices and opportunities for mixed use. Most importantly all of the projects look beyond their property boundaries by providing enhanced connectivity to the community beyond through pedestrian pathways, bicycle trails or public transportation.

We will highlight a few of the most memorable aspects of these projects during the presentation of the awards. We encourage you to visit each place throughout the coming year and interact with the people who live and work there. You will notice a common thread that weaves through each of these projects. The overall livability and sense of community present is a quality we hope to achieve in all our communities through the conscious use of smart growth development strategies.

I - Traditional Neighborhood Development

Award Winner:Pioneer Valley Co-Housing Ė Amherst
Development Consultant: John Ryan Ė Development Cycles
Architects: Bill Austin AIA, Mary Kraus AIA, Peter Kitchell AIA
Site Design: Joan Rockwell L.Arch + CT Male.
Contractor: Integrity Builders

Jurorís Comments: All the Cohousing projects submitted are excellent examples of smart growth in their use of the site, the structure of public and private spaces and the support of community on a social and practical level. The jury felt it was important to recognize Pioneer Valley Cohousing for many traditional Cohousing goals that were successfully implemented in this project. They include but are not limited to: on site office space for residents and the intentional creation of 10 internally subsidized affordable units. This community demonstrates the success of resident led development and the positive impact it can have on the neighborhood beyond.

Noteworthy:
Pomeroy Commons Ė Amherst
Developer + Contractor: Todd Cellura Sovereign Builders
Architects: Kraus Fitch Architects
Jurorís Comments: This project is noteworthy for its support of the village center concept through its placement close to the street front with parking located in the rear of the building.

Ice Pond Ė Northampton
Developer + Contractor: Todd Cellura Sovereign Builders
Architects: Dietz and Co. Architects
Site Design: Berkshire Design Group
Jurorís Comments: This project is noteworthy for its aesthetic design solution and creative density development that creates pedestrian and bicycle path connections to downtown.

Pathways Co-housing Ė Northampton
Developer + Contractor: Kohl Construction
Architects: Laura Fitch w/ Margo Jones Architects and Mary Kraus
Jurorís Comments: This project is noteworthy as one of the two developer driven Cohousing communities that were submitted. While the Cohousing model does espouse smart growth strategies for development the jury was impressed by the lead taken by the developer making both parcels available this Cohousing community. The developer was critical to the success of both Pathways and Rocky Hill Cohousing.

Cedar Ridge Ė Wilbraham
Developer + Contractor: Kent Pecoy + Sons Construction Inc.
Engineering + Site Design: TEC, Inc
Wetlands Consulting: Pioneer Environmental
Rare Species Consulting: Wetlands Preservation Inc.
Jurorís Comments: The jury was delighted to see a retirement community connected to public transportation when this is so often not the case. The clustered units create a friendly neighborhood scale which adds to the success of this community.

II - Projects to protect environment, conserve energy, reduce pollution

Award Winner: Rocky Hill Co-Housing - Northampton
Developer: Kohl Construction
Architect: Coldham and Hartman Architects
Structural: Engineer: Ryan Hellwig
General Contractor: Kohl Construction
Jurorís Comments: This 28 unit Cohousing community effectively incorporates numerous smart growth strategies by prioritizing the pedestrian and human scale through its tight clustering of homes around a wooded car free zone. The overall site was judiciously developed preserving 75% of the parcel for public use. Pedestrian paths and a new link to the regional bike path facilitate non-vehicular connections to the city and adjacent community. The jury felt this project was significant for its non-traditional envelope construction and passive solar orientation demonstrating that energy efficient design need not cost more nor look bad.

III - Affordable Housing

Award Winner: Hope VI-Churchill Neighborhood Ė Holyoke
Developer: Holyoke Housing Authority, The Community Builders
Planner: Calthorpe Associates
Architect: Dietz and Co.,
Jurorís Comments: The jury was impressed by the design of the units. The project Incorporates elements from the neighborhood vernacular which supports a sense of ownership, pride while repopulating the neighborhood streetscape with residents. All vehicular traffic is in the rear alley and each unit benefits from a clear layering of transitional spaces from public to private. The plan takes advantage of existing amenities by creating a layout and streetscape that facilitates connections within the neighborhood and the city beyond.

Noteworthy:
Paradise Pond Ė Northampton
Developer: HAP, Inc.
Architects: Peter Frothingham, LDA Architects
Contractors: Wright Builders
Jurorís Comments: This project is noteworthy for its fulfillment of the goal of creating attractive affordable housing for a variety of people within walking distance of the city center.

IV - Mixed Use

Award Winner: Open Square - Holyoke
City of Holyoke
Holyoke, MA
Architect: John Aubin
Developer: John Aubin
Jurorís Comments: Open Squareís plan for mixed use development is a wonderful example of how an urban parcel can be revitalized and become a generator of economic development within a city. While there are many mill building rehabilitations in New England, they have traditionally been a single use occupancy such as luxury condos or retail spaces. The redevelopment process for Open Square clearly demonstrates the value of applying smart growth strategies to developing these old parcels.

V - Planned Mixed Use

Award Winner: Hospital Hill
Developer: Mass Development, The Community Builders, Beals and Thomas Inc.
City of Northampton
Architect: Dietz + Co. Architects
Jurorís Comments: The jury was impressed by the mixed use densification and thoughtful approach to the revitalization of this significant parcel.

VI - Downtown Revitalization

Award Winner: Old Hill Revitalization Collaborative
Developer: HAP, Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services,
Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity,
Old Hill Neighborhood Council
Jurorís Comments: This project contains all the elements of smart growth in a downtown revitalization. Rehabilitating the existing fabric with the selective development of condemned properties the project puts people back into a neighborhood that had been neglected over the years. The jury was impressed by the use of the neighborhood vernacular for the design of the homes.

Noteworthy:
Holyoke Health Center - Holyoke
Developer + Contractor:
Architects:
Jurorís Comments: This historic rehabilitation project is noteworthy for its success as a catalyst for downtown revitalization.

VII - Planned Downtown Revitalization

Award Winner:Round House
Developer: City of Northampton, MA
Jurorís Comments: This project has significance for its development of residual urban infill space. The mixed use program will greatly contribute to the economic development of downtown Northampton.

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