- Published on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 14:35
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Colonial Beach has been awarded a $10,000 Mixed Use and Mixed Income Planning Grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority.
The purpose of the grant is to assist funding for localities to create a set of development guidelines for mixed use properties (combined residential and business) and mixed income housing as well as other developments within the target areas.
Parcels being affected will be town and privately owned, but the guidelines will only be suggestions and will not be enforced by law.
The goal is to further the efforts to revitalize the town by setting guidelines that will steer development to conform to those sought after in the town’s revitalization plan.
A group of citizens met for their second meeting on September 26 to outline the characteristics of architecture of the existing neighborhoods.
The target areas are the downtown area and the point. Eight target properties/locations have been identified; the corner of Hawthorne and Washington, the old Dominion Medical Center on Colonial Ave., the Klotz building and old police station, the Beach Gate Motel, Eleanor Trailer Park, the Lion’s Club and several vacant lots between Colonial Ave. and the high school.
Private property owners have already been approached and the owners have expressed a desire to upgrade or develop their properties.
The first step was to brainstorm with the group to define the community character. Attendees spent about 15 minutes identifying the features and traits that already exist within the community.
Words like resort, beachfront, retirement, commercial, slow moving and a host of other terms were used to describe the town’s character.
The design guideline framework will focus on four categories; lot layout, architecture, streetscape and key features unique to the area as well as accessory elements.
The guidelines are focused on keeping architecture similar so it will fit within the surrounding structures. But Rizzio pointed out that in the business district the architecture is so varied that it would make a good study area for young architects. She also pointed out that the eclectic nature of the architecture works into the art theme that is blossoming in Colonial Beach.
The group brought up that some new homes on the point not only fail to conform to the surrounding homes architecture but many of them tower over smaller homes making them stick out in an unattractive way. So it is important for the guidelines to focus on building size in the downtown area as well as the point.
Some attendees brought up the idea of an architectural review board but the majority seemed to be against it saying it would be over regulating. Carol Rizzio warned that the town had an architectural review board in the past and believes it was too restrictive, resulting in residents being against that idea.
The next step was to identify architectural styles and choose what types they would like to preserve. The room was divided into two sections and each group explored, designs, sizes and other unique features they would like to see more of.
The results of the September meeting will be compiled by Lands Studio and presented at the next meeting in the form of a draft.
After review, the final draft will be finalized in November or December.