Hi -I think your evaluation of Reedy Fork Ranch is on point. I have periodically given my grad students in urban planning the task of evaluating the Reedy Fork development. I did so again this semester while at Cal Poly, and found your blog while researching the status of the development.
I authored Best Development Practices for the American Planning Association and Urban Land Institute. The developer approached me originally with the idea of implementing Best Development Practices on his site. I was consulting with LDR International at the time, and passed the opportunity on to them.
The resulting plan was a major professional disappointment. What follows are excerpts from an email I wrote to the lead planner for LDR back in 2001. I have, for obvious reasons, left out more personal comments.
Such a wasted opportunity!
March 2, 2001
Sean -I have been debating how to respond to your belated letter, with completed site plan for Reedy Fork attached. To say that I am surprised and displeased with the process and product is an understatement. The developer approached me originally because he wanted a creative (non- formulaic) application of Best Development Practices to his site. He didn't want a New Urbanist plan necessarily, but rather a hybrid incorporating the best of contemporary and traditional features.
After one brief meeting at LDR, I hear nothing for seven months and then receive a finished site plan which, to my mind, falls substantially short of our original objectives. While I am not aware of the site constraints (having not been part of the planning team), I cannot believe that they are so severe as to have created this disjointed plan. On a midterm last week, I asked my students to evaluate the plan from the standpoint of Best Development Practices and Pedestrian- and Transit-Friendly Design, and even they (at their experience level), couldn't see any connection to the principles in those publications.
National Center for Smart Growth
University of Maryland
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Posted by David Wharton at Sunday, December 17, 2006