Page 24

LAND DEVELOPMENT By Rick Harrison

Designing for Density Conventional vs. Advanced Site Design Density—how much is enough? In the land development industry, no matter what is being proposed, someone has to justify a density increase if one wants to suction more profit out of the land, right? Well, not necessarily.

Since every home would be at the same 20’ front yard setback, the preception of space would be similar for both small and large lot: every home would remain exactly 90’ garage door to garage door, no matter what the width of the lot. The feeling of density is more controlled by front yard setback than lot width (the spacing between home fronts). The regulations dictate only front yard minimums creating a garage-grove streetscape typical of the builder/developers competition. You’re probably thinking: If the street length is 23.4% less, wouldn’t the density plummet?

Conventional Design

Conventional Site Design

Absolutely—with conventional planning. Density is not actually based upon street length

two is needed in the CAD design of the streets,

but lot width at the front yard setback. With

This 91-lot example development pretty

utilities and grading. But nobody would ques-

Advanced Site Design modeling, the street and

much represents is typical of today’s suburban

tion the validity of the design itself. Well, the

planning. It has 5,220 linear feet of street (one

developer of this tract of land did question it

mile). Given the configuration of the site using

and sought out a better solution.

A significant increase in the preception of space is created when setbacks meander aggressively.

the regulatory “minimums,” anyone would naturally assume this is the only configura-

Advanced Site Design

tion that can work. In the end, the developer is

This plan below, using the exact same regu-

satisfied that this is the best design given the

latory minimums, the same desired building

setback pattern are separated, thereby increas-

above confines.

pad, and the same restrictions in street width

ing setback length (density) while reducing

and detention limitations, gained eight lots

street length (costs).

The smallest lots are along the entrance, which ultimately has the effect of “cheapening” every home built in the larger lots towards the rear of the project.

with 1,220 lineal feet less street length.

A significant increase in the preception

The developer (who is also the builder)

of space is created when setbacks meander

desired to offer upscale housing, but because

aggressively. Homes that are on an angle to

The site plan as seen would take at most

of the width of the track, was restricted at the

the street soften the garage-grove feel typical

two hours to design using the latest CAD subdi-

entrance by land that he believed would only

of suburban development. Wide meandering

vision design module. Perhaps another day or

support small lots.

walks invite a stroll and enhance value.

Advanced Design 24 Home BUILDER May/June 2015

May/June 2015 | Home Builder Magazine Canada  

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