UV120 Findings Report from March 5th 2014
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UV120 Findings Report from March 5th 2014



On January 30th, 2014, UV120, a local land development partnership, hosted a community meeting and design charrette facilitated by the City of El Paso’s Planning Division for a new 120 acre ...

On January 30th, 2014, UV120, a local land development partnership, hosted a community meeting and design charrette facilitated by the City of El Paso’s Planning Division for a new 120 acre development located in the Upper Valley at the southeast corner of Artcraft Road and Westside Drive.

UV120 and City planning staff have identified several areas needing further input from the community, including additional detail regarding desired residential and commercial densities and styles and appropriate thoroughfare design from rural to the more urban main street setting.



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UV120 Findings Report from March 5th 2014 UV120 Findings Report from March 5th 2014 Presentation Transcript

  • UV120 January 30th, 2014 Charrette Findings
  • UV120 Purpose and Summary of the January 30th Meeting • The purpose of the January 30th public meeting and design charrette was to gather feedback from El Paso community stakeholders, including residents, land development professionals, realtors and other interested parties, on a new 120 acre development in the Upper Valley located at the southeast corner of Artcraft Road and Westside Drive. • This meeting offered a unique opportunity for the community to play an important role in shaping the future of the Upper Valley and more generally, the quality of life in El Paso by providing input on various design elements and land development ideas. • To this end, meeting attendees were asked to participate in three activities: 1. Visual Preference Survey; 2. Master Plan Element Preference and Comment; 3. General comments about what participants would like or not like to see in this new development. • Approximately 40 members of the public attended the meeting to provide their input and insight through participation in the above activities. • The following report details meeting attendees’ opinions and preferences; it is these opinions and preferences that will serve as the foundation for future design and development of the land.
  • METHODOLOGY: VISUAL PREFERENCE SURVEY • This activity was intended to obtain feedback on physical design alternatives for seven categories including: • Using stickers, participants were asked to choose their three favorite images within each category. • Additionally, comment sheets and pens were left on the tables to provide participants the opportunity to comment more specifically on what elements of the various pictures they liked or didn’t like. • This report provides the results of this survey. 1. Housing 5. Civic Buildings 2. Thoroughfares 6. Amenities 3. Commercial 7. Canalscapes 4. Parks & Open Space
  • METHODOLOGY: MASTER PLAN ELEMENT PREFERENCE AND COMMENT • This activity was intended to obtain feedback on design elements, including development patterns and various amenities using six Master Plans created for other communities across the U.S. • Participants were asked to walk around and consider each of the six Master Plans. • Each meeting attendee was given six small orange stickers on the element(s) of each plan that they liked best. • Additionally, comment sheets and pens were left on the tables that provided the opportunity for participants to comment more specifically on what elements of the various master plans they liked or didn’t like. • This report provides the results of this activity.
  • UV120 Visual Preference Survey Findings
  • HOUSING Preference Board
  • HOUSING 1% 3% 3% 3% 3% 4% 4% 5% 9% 14% 15% 35% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 6 1 2 5 12 7 11 8 3 10 4 9 PictureID n=117 Top Choices Bottom Choices
  • HOUSING Top Choices Bottom Choices • A clear preference for Option 9 was established, with more than one-third (or 35 percent) of the “Housing” stickers placed on this image. When comparing differences between Option 9 and the bottom choices, it appears that a preference for lower density residential options and architectural design style may have played a role in this image being the preferred choice. • Options 4 and 10, similar in that they are alley loaded homes with front doors opening to a shared green space, ranked second and third; together these two images received nearly one-third (or 29 percent) of the votes (i.e. “Housing” stickers). • Noticeable similarities among the top three choices is a neutral color palette and ample green landscaping. • Bottom choices tended to share in common a higher density character and architectural design styles not typical of El Paso. • Despite its similar layout to Options 4 and 10 (both top choices), Option 6 received the fewest stickers. Factors influencing this variation may include a non-preference for attached housing and/or architectural style and character, such as color palette. • Option 3, which depicts a higher density, primarily residential neighborhood, came in a distant 4th place (receiving one in ten votes). Although clearly not a choice preferred by most, its rank relative to other options suggests that density of this level may be appropriate in some places, such as a long a main street as depicted in this picture. Interestingly, a like for main streets was repeated in several other categories as the following pages of this report will show.
  • THOROUGHFARES Preference Board
  • THOROUGHFARES n=120 Top Choices Bottom Choices 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 5% 8% 8% 11% 15% 18% 23% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 2 11 4 10 6 9 8 12 7 3 1 5 PictureID
  • THOROUGHFARES Top Choices Bottom Choices • A notable distinguishing factor between top and bottom selections is the presence of trees in images receiving the highest votes. This trend suggests that thoroughfares, whether rural or suburban in nature should include tree-lined streets. • Receiving nearly one-fourth (or 23 percent) of votes, the top choice was Option 5, which depicts a rural two-lane road with soft shoulders and mature trees creating an arched canopy. The preference shown for this image suggests tree types that will take this shape over time and create a sense of enclosure should be planted along the new community’s thoroughfares. • A preference for main streets is again evidenced by the selection of Option 1 as the second choice (receiving 18 percent of votes); this image depicts a more urban thoroughfare with on-street parking that abuts a storefront-lined block. • Option 3, a top choice, and Options 2, 4 and 11, all bottom choices, depict similar single-family residential streetscapes. Option 3 may have been singled out as a preference because of its more narrow pavement width and the prominent presence of sidewalks and trees. • A strong preference for tree-lined streets is repeated by the drastic difference in preference for Option 5 (receiving 23 percent of votes) and Option 11 (receiving 4 percent of votes). This difference serves to illustrate the importance of tree cover, as the two thoroughfares are otherwise essentially the same rural design.
  • COMMERCIAL Preference Board
  • COMMERCIAL n=115 Top Choices Bottom Choices 1% 3% 3% 3% 3% 6% 8% 9% 10% 15% 19% 21% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 7 4 10 8 11 2 9 12 3 5 1 6 PictureID
  • COMMERCIAL Top Choices Bottom Choices • The preference for the inclusion of a main street is highlighted by the selection of Options 3, 5 and 6 as top choices, earning nearly half (or 46 percent) of all votes combined. • When comparing main streets depicted in the top choices, each of the three options presents a different kind of main street experience with varying levels of density and formality. The top choice, Option 6 (with 21 percent of votes) represents a mid-point between the high density formal nature of Option 5 and the low density small-town feel of Option 3. • Option 1 was the 2nd most selected (with 19 percent of votes), suggesting that a shopping area that can double as open space is preferable. A liking for gathering spaces that include outdoor seating is a theme repeated throughout other categories of this survey. • Option 5 was the 3rd most selected (with 15 percent of votes) despite its higher density character, echoing results from the housing category that higher density may be acceptable, but only along main streets. • The two least selected options, 4 and 7 with three and one percent of votes respectively, are dominated by pavement, suggesting that commercial space should focus on the experience for the individual, not the street or parking lot. • Again, concern regarding architectural style and character was repeated in open ended comments, suggesting that options 10 and 8 may have ranked poorly because the style of buildings depicted in these images is not consistent with the Upper Valley.
  • PARKS & OPEN SPACE Preference Board
  • PARKS & OPEN SPACE n=116 Top Choices Bottom Choices 3% 3% 4% 4% 5% 6% 7% 11% 11% 12% 16% 17% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 10 8 4 9 7 12 2 1 3 11 6 5 PictureID
  • PARKS & OPEN SPACE Top Choices Bottom Choices • Of the seven categories, preferences within the Parks & Open Space group were least clearly defined, suggesting a lack of consensus regarding appropriate open spaces for a new community. • Option 5 emerged as the top preference, while the similar Option 8 fell within the bottom four. Both images show public plazas, characteristic of many towns in the Southwest and Mexico. However, whereas Option 8 is hardscaped, Option 5 features green landscaping and mature trees, suggesting that not only is a central meeting area that reflects the character of the region important, but that it is equally important that this space be green. • Options 6 and 9 depict farmland located in proximity to residential uses. The preference shown for Option 6 may suggest that any farm or agricultural use should be well integrated into a neighborhood. Participants may have seen Option 9 as the meshing of incompatible uses, or a poor execution of integration. • A third dichotomy exists between Options 3 and 4, both of which depict settings more typical of an urban park. Where they differ is that Option 3 illustrates an outdoor space well-defined by public art, a trail and landscaping, while Option 4 lacks a sense of enclosure and definition. • The idea of creating gathering areas appropriate for all, including children and families, is given preference in the selection of Option 11, which depicts a playground. • Option 10 was the least selected option. The low rank of this image may be attributable to a feeling that desert landscaping and the Upper Valley are not compatible. Additionally, Option 10, much like Option 4, lacks a sense of enclosure and definition.
  • CIVIC BUILDINGS Preference Board
  • CIVIC BUILDINGS n=101 Top Choices Bottom Choices 1% 2% 2% 3% 5% 10% 11% 12% 16% 19% 20% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 6 3 5 1 8 9 10 11 2 4 7 PictureID
  • CIVIC BUILDINGS Top Choices Bottom Choices • Civic Buildings may include any number of buildings open for public use. Typical examples of civic buildings include town halls, schools and religious or government buildings. • Over half (or 55 percent) of the total Civic Building selections identified Options 2, 4 or 7. Each of these images depicts a civic building that relates well to its surroundings and serves as a community focal point. • When comparing top and bottom choices, it is clear that participants prefer civic buildings that are integrated into neighborhoods, rather than those that serve as stand-alone destinations. • With regard to design, buildings showcasing modern architectural details were selected less often than the more traditional architectural types. • Additionally, large expanses of paved area are not preferred, as illustrated by the low scoring Options 1, 3 and 6. This finding reinforces Commercial non-preferences where the two lowest ranking commercial images were also dominated by pavement.
  • AMENITIES Preference Board
  • AMENITIES n=126 Top Choices Bottom Choices 1% 2% 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% 6% 12% 15% 22% 26% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 3 12 7 2 10 11 9 5 4 1 6 8 PictureID
  • AMENITIES Top Choices Bottom Choices • With over one-fourth (or 26 percent) of selections, the outdoor seating space for a café/restaurant depicted in Option 8 was repeated as a high priority for participants. Notably, this selection also indicates that unique features, such as the water shown in this picture, ought to be used to augment the amenity. • Option 6 scored closely behind top choice Option 8, receiving over one-fifth (or 22 percent) of votes. The high rank of this option suggests that a farmer’s market or some other activity that relates to the heritage of the Upper Valley in a manner that is easily accessible by a wide audience should be an important feature of this new community. • The preferred Options 1, 4 and 6 highlight spaces that provide opportunities for a variety of activities accessible to the entire community, whereas more open ended and specialized amenities, such as those shown in Options 3 and 7 (stables and an orchard), were less often identified as a preference. This trend is in line with previous findings that amenities and gathering spaces should be accessible to the entire community, rather than to typically smaller, more specialized interest groups. • Option 12, a recreational center, scored in the bottom two. Given previous findings, this relatively poor rank may have partially been influenced by the modern architectural design of the building rather than due to the amenities it offers.
  • CANALSCAPES Preference Board
  • CANALSCAPES n=137 Top Choices Bottom Choices 1% 1% 4% 4% 4% 4% 7% 7% 8% 10% 19% 31% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 5 7 4 8 9 1 6 12 2 11 3 10 PictureID
  • CANALSCAPES Top Choices Bottom Choices • Well over half (or 60 percent) of votes indicated a preference for structured, urban canalscapes as illustrated by the top three choices: Options 3, 10 and 11. This finding suggests that canals should be a centerpiece of the development and serve as an amenity available for community-wide use. • The top choice, Option 10, received the largest share of votes, representing nearly one-third (or 31 percent) of canalscape stickers. The trees and sidewalk, in combination with outdoor café/restaurant space and shallow building setbacks, create a sense of enclosure reminiscent of an outdoor room. The strong preference for this image augments previous findings suggesting that engaging outdoor gathering spaces should be a priority as design of the new community is considered. • Bottom choices, Options 4 and 5 depict canalscapes improved for use as trails. Although both images include people using the trails, a reason for their low rank may be the sense of isolation they communicate relative to the top three choices. For example, Option 5 separates the canal from the rest of the community with a wall, while the presence of a surrounding community is missing from Option 4. • Interestingly, despite its structured urban nature Option 7 scored very low, receiving about one percent of votes. One factor that may have influenced the low score may have been an inability to relate the canal to the surrounding environment. • Finally, despite their similar unimproved feel, Option 2 with eight percent of votes scored in the top four, while Option 8 with four percent of votes scored in the bottom four. The small difference in score may be related to a preference for more natural canalscapes that retain vegetation and have not been channelized using hard materials such as concrete.
  • COMMENTS ON VISUAL PREFERENCE SURVEY IMAGES • A total of 51 comments were received regarding the various images shown during the visual preference survey. • The largest share of positive comments received referred to a like for the trails and gathering spaces depicted in various images suggesting that the inclusion of such amenities should be a priority when designing the new community. • The largest share of negative comments received referred to a dislike for the architectural style or character of an image. Many of these comments communicated a concern that the building style was not in keeping with the integrity of the region. • Additionally, a review of negative comments received suggests that a community that finds a balance between a rural and urban character is preferred. • The Housing and Thoroughfares categories received the largest proportion of comments, while the Amenities and Canalscapes categories followed closely behind. This finding suggests that these four categories are considered important elements of a new community and as such, should be given much attention in their design. • The majority of comments received regarding Housing images were negative, suggesting that an objective of future meetings should be to better understand residential preferences.
  • SUMMARY OF FINDINGS Images above represent top preferences in each category.
  • SUMMARY OF FINDINGS The “perfect” community has… • …an architectural style that is consistent with the character and history of the Upper Valley. • …many and varied public gathering spaces – farmer’s markets, parks and other active event spaces. • …a main street where commercial and higher density uses are focused. • …canals that are available for use by the entire community – whether as trails or outdoor cafés/gathering areas. • …landscaped thoroughfares and open spaces, with an emphasis on the importance of trees in creating a sense of enclosure and well-defined space. • …lower density residential neighborhoods that include some kind of variety such as traditional single-family detached homes and less traditional patio homes. • …civic buildings that relate well to their surroundings and are well integrated into the community rather than separated, stand-alone buildings. • …a range of development types – rural, single-family housing, commercial areas and gathering spaces. “Places to sit and gather.” “I like that [this image] is not high density.” “Walkways close to the water.” “Outdoor cafés are great…” “Open Space for families and neighborhoods to gather.” “Looks most like El Paso…” “Trees, trees and more trees!”
  • UV120 Master Plan Findings
  • PLAN A Holiday Neighborhood Boulder, Colorado
  • PLAN B Palm Dreams Karachi Golf City, Pakistan
  • PLAN C Serenbe Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia
  • PLAN D Ridgewood Village Humboldt County, California
  • PLAN E Agritopia Gilbert, Arizona
  • PLAN F City Park Houston, Texas
  • MASTER PLANS • Stickers were used as a tool to identify specific elements of the master plans liked by charrette participants. As illustrated by the graph to the left, the elements identified as preferences could be catalogued into one of seven categories. • Of the total 174 stickers placed, nearly two-fifths (or 38 percent) referenced a Parks and Open Space element, suggesting that participants feel these public spaces are important features of any community. The largest share of Parks and Open Space stickers were placed on the multi-use Holiday Community Park pictured in Plan A and the Multi-Use Trails linking the community to Open Space pictured in Plan D. • One in five (or 20 percent) of total stickers were placed on Commercial elements of the master plans, suggesting that participants are receptive to Commercial uses being included in the new community. The Market pictured in Plan D and the Retail Center pictured in Plan E, both large anchor retail spaces, were most often selected within the Commercial category. This trend suggests that there is an area need for a larger commercial amenity such as a grocery store. • Sixteen percent of all stickers cited some element of Housing within the master plans. Preferences within this category were more evenly split among many different types of primarily lower density housing types, including: senior housing, multi-family townhomes, cottage and single-family/classic homes. • Plan C, a semi-rural cluster development, garnered a notable share of votes, although the specific plan element referenced by these votes was unclear; as a result, these votes have been classified as a “General Like” (note that the entirety of this category is comprised of votes for Plan C). n=174 2%2%2%2% 4%4%4%4% 6%6%6%6% 14%14%14%14% 16%16%16%16% 20%20%20%20% 38%38%38%38% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Civic Building Parking Agricultural General Like Housing Commercial Parks & Open Space Total Stickers Placed (%)Total Stickers Placed (%)Total Stickers Placed (%)Total Stickers Placed (%) CategoryCategoryCategoryCategory Preference Summary by CategoryPreference Summary by CategoryPreference Summary by CategoryPreference Summary by Category
  • MASTER PLANS • A total of 174 stickers were placed on the six Master Plans provided. The graph to the left illustrates the sticker spread among plans. • Elements of Plans D and E were most often selected as preferred, with the plans receiving 30 and 29 percent of votes, respectively. Plan D was cited most often for its Parks and Open Space, Housing and Commercial elements. Specifically, its multi- use trails and anchor retail market scored high, while housing choices indicated a preference for a variety of options appropriate for a wide range of age groups and income levels. Plan E, on the other hand, was recognized most often for its Commercial and Parks and Open Space elements; other than the retail center, no single element stood out as preferred over others, suggesting that a variety of commercial and parks and open space types ought to be included in the new community. • Plan A and Plan C received 22 and 17 percent of selections, respectively. Over two-thirds of selections for Plan A cited the Holiday Community Park as a preference, while the overwhelming majority of selections for Plan C cited a general like for the plan rather than identifying specific elements of its layout. • Plan B received only two percent of stickers, while Plan F received none, suggesting that avant-garde and standard conventional developments are not preferred design alternatives. n=174 0%0%0%0% 2%2%2%2% 17%17%17%17% 22%22%22%22% 29%29%29%29% 30%30%30%30% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Plan F Plan B Plan C Plan A Plan E Plan D Total Stickers Placed (%)Total Stickers Placed (%)Total Stickers Placed (%)Total Stickers Placed (%) MasterPlanMasterPlanMasterPlanMasterPlan Preference Summary by Master PlanPreference Summary by Master PlanPreference Summary by Master PlanPreference Summary by Master Plan
  • COMMENTS ON MASTER PLANS • A total of 30 comments were received providing additional insight into specific likes and dislikes regarding the six master plans. • Two-thirds of the comments received were positive. Of these, some element of open space or mixed-use was most often cited as a positive asset to the community. Specifically, community trails and adequate landscaping were repeated likes, while neighborhood mixed-use was a common theme. • Plan C, a semi-rural cluster land development, received the largest share of comments relative to the other plans, all of which were positive in nature. Comments regarding Plan C cited a number of its elements, including its open spaces, mixed-use qualities and other features. • With regard to negative comments, the density level depicted by several of the plans was of concern. This, in combination with a communicated like for neighborhood mixed-use, indicates that while there may be room for a range of uses including commercial, residential and office space, those uses should respect the lower density nature of the surrounding Upper Valley area.
  • SUMMARY OF FINDINGS Repeated themes include… • …parks and open space are important elements of any community. • Specifically, multi-use spaces that serve as gathering spaces for the entire neighborhood are a high priority, as are multi-use trails that serve as linkages throughout the community. • …neighborhood mixed-use is an amenity. • In addition to small restaurants and cafés, there is a communicated need for a larger anchor retail/market space; however, that space should be integrated into the community, blending well with its surroundings. • …a variety of housing options are needed. • A need for housing types that fit all age groups and income levels was communicated, although such housing should respect the lower density nature of the Upper Valley, including options like townhomes, cottage/patio homes, single-family detached homes and the opportunity for senior housing. • …the unique rural character of the Upper Valley should be maintained. • Although traditional agricultural uses were not often cited as a preferences, comments and master plan selections consistently communicated a fondness for semi-rural communities. Amenities accessible to a wider audience such as community gardens may be explored as a way to preserve the character of the area.
  • UV120 Open-Ended Comments
  • OPEN-ENDED COMMENTS Repeated themes include… • …the character of the community should stay true to the rural heritage of the Upper Valley, as well as the architectural design styles typical of the region. • …a mix of lower density housing options appropriate for all age groups and life stages should be provided. • …neighborhood mixed use such as cafés and restaurants are an amenity. • …establish and augment the existing canal as a community focal point. • …ensure that amenities, both traditional and non-traditional in nature be included in the design and plan of the community. n=14 “Maintain the unique farmland feel.” “Senior Housing.” “Restaurants and cafés.” “Riverwalk – great idea.” “Nice multi-family, townhomes, duplexes.” “Maintain rural atmosphere.” “Make it unique, not a copy of another city.”
  • UV120 Next Steps
  • CONCLUSIONS Repeated themes include… • …the character of the community should stay true to the rural heritage of the Upper Valley, as well as the architectural design styles typical of the region. • …a mix of lower density housing options appropriate for all age groups and life stages should be provided. • …important community buildings such as schools or anchor retail spaces should be well-integrated into their surroundings and add to the character of the neighborhood. • …parks and gathering spaces, both traditional and non- traditional in nature are important features of any neighborhood and should be designed in such a way as to encourage use by the entire community. • …neighborhood mixed use such as cafés and restaurants are a desired amenity. • …establish and augment the existing canal as a community focal point. • …green landscaping should be used as a way to define outdoor spaces and create a sense of place whether along thoroughfares, canals or in parks and other gathering spaces. Explore Further… How to best preserve the agricultural heritage of the Upper Valley through community design? Residential densities, styles and color palettes. Commercial and “Main Street” densities and styles. A range of thoroughfare types from rural to main street urban.
  • NEXT STEPS •Report the findings of the January 30th UV120 Public Meeting and Design Charrette to the community. •Hold a second public meeting and design charrette to clarify remaining issues such as residential and commercial building styles and densities. •Tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd, 2014. •Compile results from both meetings and begin working with design professionals to develop a plan for the new community that uses public feedback as its foundation and guide. •Present the plan to the community and provide the opportunity for public comment, suggestions, additions, deletions, etc. •Refine the plan given community feedback, hold a fourth public meeting if necessary, and finally, begin the development process.