Not so long ago, the town of Denton had given tentative approval for a significant housing development that would have permitted 2,500 new homes to be constructed. The community leaders showed minimal hesitation in giving the go-ahead since it doubled the town’s size, increased the tax base, and presumably added significantly to its economic development.
But on closer inspection, the planned community showed significant flaws. Denton’s doubling in less than two years would have caused major stresses on the town’s infrastructure, contrasted significantly to the community’s historic rural aesthetic, and highlighted fundamental weaknesses in how small municipalities can control this form of aggressive development.
As the town began to push back on the developer’s plans, investors lost interest in Denton, and in the end, the project was scrapped entirely.
According to Jay Corvan, who has practiced architecture and town planning for decades from his office in Trappe, the Denton case perfectly outlined what can happen when developers are on their own in determining the scope and design of housing projects on the Eastern Shore.
Jay’s solution, supported by many of his colleagues, is creating a “pattern book” that can be applied to an entire region like the Mid-Shore to provide clear and straightforward guidelines for developers to avoid what took place in Denton.
The pattern book approach would give towns like Trappe, the location of another major housing development on the other side of Route 50, the tools needed to appropriate scale these new communities with far more precision than existing zoning and planning regulations. The result being a better build project, a more intact community, and far less risk for the developer and their investors.
This video is approximately twelve minutes in length. For more information about town development pattern book approaches please go here.