Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 2013

Chapel Hill works to update its land use management ordinance

It took Travis Vencel 26 months to get his Bicycle Apartments project approved in Chapel Hill.

Vencel wasn’t the first developer to stumble through the traps of the town’s lengthy development process — but he might be one of the last.

Last week, the town launched an effort to update its land use management ordinance, or LUMO, for the first time in 10 years.

“The update is supposed to help folks better understand and better predict what development is and what is expected during the development process,” said Eric Feld, the town’s current development planner.

When developers want to bring their projects to Chapel Hill, they usually have to apply to rezone the land for their desired use. Those applications then pass through a public hearing, some of the town’s 19 advisory boards and the Town Council.

John Richardson, Chapel Hill’s sustainability officer, said the town needed to produce a code that would be helpful for everyone.

“Our development process will always take longer if it takes our people longer to understand what the process is,” Richardson said.

An expert comes to town

The town hired Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, an Austin, Texas-based company that specializes in creating uncomplicated zoning and unified codes for cities and form-based codes for downtown areas.

“We plan to reorganize and modernize the document and make it more graphically oriented so the average person can make sense of it,” Einsweiler said. “We’re simplifying it without dumbing it down.”

Chapel Hill hopes to adopt a form-based code, which sets specific regulations for items like building height, signage standards and parking lot screening and shading.

The update to the document will include graphics and simple language to make it more readable and accessible for both the public and developers.

“The old document is just filled with jargon and very difficult to understand. This updated version will make everything visual,” Richardson said.

Einsweiler said he wants the update to fit the town’s new vision for Chapel Hill.

“If the vision of the town has changed, then the regulations need to change,” he said. “The idea here is to link these to the community’s vision.”

Four key areas

Council member Donna Bell said the town chose to initially focus on four areas to make the update process manageable and effective: codes applying to bed and breakfasts, signage, stormwater management and parking lot landscaping.

Under the current land use ordinance, bed and breakfasts are not allowed in town, but Feld said many surrounding areas allow them.

“Let’s explore this topic and see if we can incorporate these into the ordinance, so we can provide some regulatory framework for this type of use,” he said.

Feld said the current codes for signage are paragraphs of jargon. The proposed update will include figures that show exact dimensions and examples of potential sign ideas.

“As a planner, I do my best to make sure a sign is representing the values of Chapel Hill,” he said. “I want to make sure we are telling people what exactly we expect of them.”

The town’s update efforts will also look closely at parking lot landscaping and stormwater regulations.


Bell said the Town Council is also reorganizing its advisory boards to further help speed up the approval process.

“It started off with looking at boards around the development process and then looking at the goals of those boards,” Bell said. “Some of the boards either have an unclear charge or the charge was shared with other boards.”

Richardson, the town’s sustainability officer, said re-evaluating the boards is important to increasing efficiency.

“Anytime we update our vision, we need to re-evaluate the boards and commissions that support that vision and make sure they are aligned with those visions,” he said.

A thorough cost analysis determined it cost the town up to $600,000 per year to have and manage 19 advisory boards, Richardson said.

The advisory board portion of the approval process is often costly and lengthy for developers, who have to keep architects and attorneys on retainer while it is pending approval.

Though it was time-consuming for him, Vencel said he still appreciated town’s stringent approval process.

“It’s an in-depth process,” Vencel said. “I don’t think it is beneficial to developers, but you get a much better product at the end.”

Article source:

Experts and residents brainstorm on ways to enhance Dunkirk

DUNKIRK – Residents and community leaders filled the large meeting room at the SUNY Fredonia Incubator Center on Central Avenue in Dunkirk to talk about planning, promoting and marketing Dunkirk.

The Saturday morning gathering was coordinated by the city and members of the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association to promote the city and get new ideas on how to improve.

George Grasser, of Buffalo, brought a team of people involved in urban-planning projects.

Team members included experts in urban engineering, marketing and promoting the concept of “complete streets.”

They said that streets should be friendly for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Mayor A.J. Dolce was pleased by the turnout.

He estimated that 80 residents showed up to share ideas and participate in the walking tours with the planning group.

“I am really pleased to see so much interesting revitalizing our city,” Dolce said.

The mayor said he believes that active participation from community groups will encourage business growth and attract new residents to the city.

Grasser prefaced the walking tours by asking people to scan the neighborhoods and look for ideas to promote walking and encourage small businesses and services within short distances to residential areas. Members of the group walked around the harbor area, the First Ward and Central Avenue.

After the walking tours, the planning team members pointed out that the harbor attractions but said they are not easily found. They recommended better signs and marketing near the recreational areas along the waterfront. They also recommended promoting the areas and their attractions on social media as a way of attracting younger visitors.

City residents should form a planning group and target specific projects throughout the city, the experts said.

Also, the team members suggested landscaping along the Route 5 corridor near Central Avenue and repainting the railroad bridges in the city.

Article source:

Landscaping ideas using fall’s vibrant colors

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –  The fall season is upon us.  But how do you get your house and yard prepped for fall?  What can you do to make your landscape stand out with those vibrant fall colors?

Joe Blackshere, the manager of the Lee’s Summit Westlake Ace Hardware store, stopped by Monday’s FOX 4 Morning Show with ideas to help you fix up your landscape for the fall season.

Want even more ideas?  Fall Fest is being held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at  all Westlake Ace Hardware stores.  For more info, go to

Article source:

Sustainable Landscaping Requires Appropriate Plant Selection

Sustainable landscapes are healthy and resilient to the environmental elements of a location and will endure over the long term without substantial resources or maintenance. Sustainability is increased when the urban landscape is in harmony with local conditions.

Jim Fogarty, Melbourne landscape designer says, “Gardens should have the correct sense of place, whether it be a leafy city garden or a natural-styled native coastal garden that blends with the environment.”

The landscape designer is critical of aesthetic landscape designs that are unique and trendy, but simply don’t fit in the surrounding environment and therefore, require more resources and maintenance to upkeep.

“The key is aesthetic design that ensures the garden lasts rather than being a faddish makeover,” says Fogarty. “The word ‘sustainable’ has been overused in gardens sadly and I think the value of the motive behind the word has been diluted as a consequence.”

Native plants foster sustainability

Native plants foster sustainability

Fogarty says all gardens are good for the environment as long as designers make ethical choices when it comes to plant and material selection.

A combination of careful plant selection, good planning, soil preparation and effective irrigation will assist in the implementation of a sustainable landscape.

Other factors to consider are the use of water-wise plants, low energy consumption, avoidance of chemicals, sustainable and locally sourced materials and products as well as habitat creation.

“Trends in landscape design continue to include green walls, edible gardens and sustainable gardens,” says Fogarty. “These all have a place in landscape design but I think there will be an emphasis in the future on a greater selection of plants rather than just creating entertainment spaces.”

Built Landscapes

Built landscapes should blend with the surrounding environment

Plenty of built urban landscapes across the country use plants and practices unsuited to the arid environment. This makes them resource-depleting because they require significant water, nutrients, chemicals and energy to survive.

To achieve a successful sustainable landscape with a healthy future, urban landscapes must work with local climactic and ecological conditions.

Design for Geographic Location and Conditions

Kristen Avis

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

Download Article

1st Image: via BPN
2nd Image: via susancohan gardens
3rd Image: via Jim Fogarty

Click here to cancel reply.

Article source:

Touring the fantastic Columbus gardens

Let’s Grow!
Touring the fantastic Columbus gardens

An interesting peek into one of the prettiest private gardens in Columbus, courtesy of this year’s Columbus Landscape Association Outdoor Living and Landscaping Tour (GoodSeed Nursery photo)

By Steve Boehme

We spent a recent Saturday exploring a dozen private landscapes in and around Columbus, recharging our creative batteries with lots of fresh landscape ideas. A varied assortment of projects, by some of the best landscapers in Columbus, opened to the public as the Columbus Landscape Association hosted its annual Outdoor Living and Landscaping Tour. A few readers of this column were paying attention and took advantage of the free tickets we offered several weeks ago. Ticket sales benefitted Hope Hollow, a non-profit sanctuary for cancer patients and also a stop on the tour.

So, what do the newest custom landscapes look like? This is the second time we’ve taken this tour, and we spotted some trends worth watching. Some of the homes we visited were very expensive, with landscape budgets in six figures. Others were more modest, but clearly landscaping was a big part of the quality of life in these homes and there were lots of unique ideas on display.

One thing that struck us was that the more affluent the owner, the more boxwoods, hostas, and ground cover plants dominated the landscape. One reason is that luxury homes tend to have lots of large trees and plenty of shade, so ground covers for shade are widely used in nice neighborhoods. The use of color is more tasteful, with evergreen plants as a background, for a very classy upscale effect.

We saw lots of extensive hardscaping; retaining walls, paver walks and patios (even driveways), natural stone, and water features. Slate patios, stone bridges, rock outcroppings, and sturdy privacy fences covered with vines were everywhere. City dwellers who want privacy surround themselves with large woody plants like viburnum, holly, hemlock and arborvitae. Unlike most rural and suburban landscapes, these backyards had plantings all around the edges, not just close to the foundation.

The owners of these homes have big landscape maintenance budgets, so they can afford to cram lots of plant material into small spaces and keep it clipped, pruned and sheared constantly. The landscape companies clearly aimed for “instant results” rather than spacing for the mature size of plants. We chuckled at the mass plantings of roses underneath young weeping cherry trees, lots of taxus yews, hostas in sun, grasses in shade and other obvious mistakes. Most of the landscapes were recently re-worked, so the inevitable culling and casualties haven’t happened yet.

Our favorite stop was an older home overlooking the Scioto River, with mass plantings of Hosta among stone walls originally built by the WPA many years ago. A tasteful waterfall and stream had been added, which will blend nicely into the natural setting as the stones age.

Another treasure was an intimate Japanese garden tucked in behind the Muirfield golf course. Slate pathways, a stone bridge, and yes, more hostas, were artfully arranged to disguise just how close the house was to its neighbors. We also admired a lovely stone mansion in Bexley, laced with formal borders of miniature boxwoods and carefully clipped ivy. Yes, ivy hedges as a formal border. The opposite of low maintenance, but certainly charming.

Last stop was the Learning Garden at Chadwick Arboretum on the Ohio State campus. You have a few more weeks to check out their annual cultivar trial gardens, full of new varieties being tested. There were standouts and duds. Very interesting, and certainly colorful. Well worth a stop next time you’re near the OSU campus. Go Bucks!

Steve Boehme is the owner of GoodSeed Nursery Landscape, located at 9736 Tri-County Highway, near Winchester, Ohio. To e-mail your landscaping questions click “Contact Us” from their website at or call (937) 587-7021.


Article source:

Expert to give landscape tips

The Andover Garden Club will hold a membership meeting and landscape-design lecture titled “Simplifying Gardens to Fit Our Lifestyles,” Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m. at South Church, 41 Central St., Andover.

Nationally known gardening expert and teacher Kerry Ann Mendez will provide easy-to-follow landscape downsizing strategies, recommend no-fuss plant material, and offer design tips for stunning year-round gardens that will be as close to autopilot as one can get.

Mendez is director of marketing for Faddegon’s Nursery, a premier garden center in Latham, N.Y. She is dedicated to teaching the art of low-maintenance perennial gardening and landscaping. As a garden consultant, designer, writer, teacher and lecturer, she focuses on time-saving gardening techniques and workhorse plants, as well as organic practices. She has been in numerous magazines, including Horticulture and Fine Gardening and has been a featured guest on HGTV as well as local television shows. Self-taught, with more than 25 years of experience, she is a “passionate perennialist” who enjoys mixing humor with practical information.

This event is free for members. A $10 donation is requested for guests (includes refreshments).

For information about joining the Andover Garden Club, contact AGC membership chairs Linda Carpenter (978-475-7430, and Ronnie Haarmann (978-475-4414,

Article source:

Green Thumb: 10 Popular Herbs + Tips to Grow Your Own

Have you been longing to get your hands dirty? Well, there really is no better time to start now Spring has arrived. Whether you’re playing farmer to your own veggie patch or growing your own herbs, it is immensely satisfying! You’ll be a proud parent watching them grow as you feed and water them, and you’ll save a bundle by avoiding store-bought picks that quickly die in a day or two. And because everything tastes that little bit better with herbs, there’s no reason not get started. Come on in for 10 easy-to-grow herbs and planting tips for your green thumb.

Article source:

Dog area and skateboard park top ideas for waterfront land

WENATCHEE — An off-leash dog area and a skateboard/BMX track emerged as the top ideas for a new waterfront park at a meeting earlier this week.

About 35 people attended a city open house on Tuesday to gather ideas on how to develop about five acres on either side of the Pipeline Bridge along Wenatchee’s riverfront.

The land was donated earlier this year by the Hale family.

The city parks board hopes to have a final design for the park by November. The city would like to start applying for grant funding early next year and build the park in 2016.

During the brainstorming meeting at City Hall, a dog park got 14 votes, followed closely by 12 votes for a skateboard/BMX park.

Ideas getting fewer but multiple votes included a waterfront trail connection to South Wenatchee neighborhoods, restrooms, a stage and live-music venue, splash pad, trees and landscaping, playground equipment, picnic areas, basketball courts, community gardens, fishing access and miniature golf.

Suggestions that got just one vote each included a recreation center, water slides, fountains, fishing pond, go-cart track and tennis courts.

The city will continue to accept ideas for the park’s development until Oct. 16. They can be submitted to parks director Dave Erickson at

Reach Russ Hemphill at 509-665-1161 or . Follow him on Twitter at @Worldcityeditor.

Article source:

Carlé Chronicle: Students take ASVAB, Student Council and Interact plan events

Welcome to the second grade period, Carlé!

Several students took the ASVAB test. ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The ASVAB is a series of questions that can help you make a good career choice. Carlé is proud to be able to offer this to its students each year.

Students who took the ASVAB were Melyssa Moreno, Cody Perdock, Malia Askew, Marisa Gilbert, Sienna Norton, Lance Thurston, Blake Von Rekowski, Alvin Wilder, Isaac Soto, Craig Stephens, Yasmine Wilcox, Jeremy Hunter and Dane Pearson.

Carlé has had a record number of gold level students this grading period. Twenty-one gold level students got their gold level cards.

Gold level students for the first grade period were Kelly Alvarez, Jay Brown, Lukas Carlson, Kasandra Colwell, Shelby England, Kevin Fisher, Savanna Golden, Jeremy Hunter, Jonathan Lansdowne, Jasmine Mcgee, Timothy Mcguire, Deandre Morris, Dane Pearson, Cody Perdock, Alyssa Peterson, Daniel Salvante, Chenoa Schmidt, Christopher Stutz, Blake Von Rekowski, Amaree Whiley and Alvin Wilder.

Silver level students were Ty Ty Beasley, Gage Beck, Nathan Frigge, Alyssa Garnett, Summer Gunn, Cody Hoss, Troy Lamburth, Michael Lanigan, Jessie Mason, Kobi Mathies, Marla Mitchell, Sienna Norton, Nathan Oakley, Isaiah Piazza, Esperanza Roberts, Steven Tracy, and Yasmine Wilcox.

Student Council: Carlé High School will be having a barbecue on Monday, Oct. 7. Student Council members will decide what activities they want like football, baseball or ping pong.

Advisors will give students a survey to see what kind of music students would like to hear at the barbecue. The Student Council will have a See’s Candy fundraiser.

Student of the week was Jonathan Lansdowne. He came back to school this year with a fire to graduate and has been a real asset to our community.

Interact Club: The club is working on getting the plants in the garden for the safe house. Members of the club will be doing cleaning and landscaping at the safe house. Both of these events will take place in October.

Upcoming events for Interact Club: In November the Interact Club will have lunch with the Rotary Club. On Dec. 14, the Interact Club will have its annual Christmas Dinner. On Feb. 21, 2014, the members will set up tables for the annual seafood boil, which takes place the following day.

Angie Siegel, the science teacher, and Dr. Burger, the school principal, went to a workshop on Monday, Sept. 23. The workshop was called “Restorative Practices.” The workshop is about looking at ideas for discipline other than suspension.

Timothy Mcguire is a student at Carlé Continuation High School in Lower Lake, Calif.

Subscribe to me on YouTube

trackbackTrackBack URI for this entry

Comments (0)Add Comment

feedSubscribe to this comment’s feed


Article source:

Reservations reach 50% at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks

Submitted  Moorings Park at Grey Oaks has secured nearly 50% of the reservations required to begin Phase I construction. Phase I will include construction of the community’s first 32 garden home residences in four buildings.

Moorings Park at Grey Oaks has secured nearly 50% of the reservations required to begin Phase I construction. Phase I will include construction of the community’s first 32 garden home residences in four buildings.

Moorings Park at Grey Oaks has secured 50 percent of the reservations required to begin Phase I construction of a continuing care retirement community at the corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Golden Gate Parkway.

Phase I will include construction of the community’s first 32 garden home residences in four buildings. Each building will include four floors over parking with two garden homes per floor. Phase I will also include completion of the Aqua Gardens that will feature a resort-style pool with landscaping. Moorings Park at Grey Oaks anticipates beginning Phase I construction during 2014.

Adjacent to the Estuary at Grey Oaks neighborhood, Moorings Park at Grey Oaks presents Mediterranean-inspired architecture that celebrates the outdoors with courtyards, lanais and balconies complete with outdoor kitchens and views of fountains and Southwest Florida’s lush natural landscape.

At build-out, Moorings Park at Grey Oaks will include 96 residences in 12 buildings, as well as the Aqua Gardens, the Jasmine Gardens that will feature a butterfly and a fragrance garden, the Viridian Gardens that will host activities, including bocce ball and lawn bowling, and a clubhouse with a variety of dining, social, fitness and healthcare opportunities. It will also include assisted living and memory care suites with extensive wellness programming, recreation and private dining. A sports membership at Grey Oaks Country Club is included with the purchase of each residence.

Moorings Park at Grey Oaks will be built by CC Devco of Coral Gables, Fla., the builder of Grey Oaks Country Club’s Villas at Traditions of Grey Oaks. Total build-out of Moorings Park at Grey Oaks will be completed over four phases with all 96 residences completed at the end of Phase III and the clubhouse completed at the end of Phase IV.

“The demand for the Moorings Park at Grey Oaks residences has been exceptionally strong,” said Moorings Park at Grey Oaks Director of Sales Gina Paris. “This is a very limited opportunity for retirees to secure a lifestyle that includes all that Grey Oaks Country Club offers along with the comprehensive continuum of care Moorings Park provides. The combination of Grey Oaks’ energetic lifestyle and exceptional golf facilities along with the security of knowing their long-term needs will be met continues to resonate with those who have made reservations. People appreciate the active lifestyle and social life Grey Oaks affords. They also appreciate knowing a continuum of care that includes a fitness center, spa, salon, doctor’s office visits, out-patient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, memory care, and Extended Congregate Care licensed assisted living right at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks is readily available if a particular level of care is required. In addition to the amenities and services available at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks, residents will have the additional benefit of access to many of the amenities at Moorings Park’s Goodlette-Frank Road campus, including the Center for Healthy Living that includes fitness, theatre, spa and salon services, dining at the elegant Trio dining venue and an invitation to the Bower Chapel Concert Series and worship services.”

The garden home residences offer two, two-bedroom plus den, two-and-a-half bath floor plans. Each floor plan includes a private elevator vestibule, an entry courtyard, great room, adjoining kitchen and breakfast area, a wet bar, vaulted ceilings and a large master suite with walk-in closets and a beautifully finished master bath. Both floor plans offer lanais and balconies complete with outdoor kitchens.

The 3,007-square-foot Indigo garden home floor plan is base-priced at $1,205,800. This floor plan is designed for those who love to entertain and includes a gallery hallway, a formal dining room, a gourmet island kitchen with island bar seating, and a 528-square-foot covered lanai with conversation and dining areas and a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen.

The 2,873-square-foot Verde floor plan is base-priced at $1,152,100. The floor plan includes a gallery hallway, dining and breakfast areas, a gourmet island kitchen with island bar seating, and a covered lanai with conversation and dining areas and an outdoor kitchen.

Each floor plans comes with premium quality standard finishes, including ceramic tile flooring in the primary living areas, hardwood flooring in the den, carpeted bedrooms, level 4 cabinetry, granite counter tops in the kitchen, and marble counter tops in the baths. Pre-construction and early construction buyers will be invited to make their finish selections at the Moorings Park at Grey Oaks Design Center located within Grey Oaks Country Club. Optional features and finishes are available.

“The garden home residences at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks provide retirees an opportunity to downsize to a very spacious, elegantly appointed home in a totally maintenance-free environment,” said Paris. “Many retirees sell the large homes in which they’ve lived for an extended period and downsize to a more modestly sized home only to have to move again when more immediate care is necessary. Moorings Park at Grey Oaks can eliminate the need to move more than once. Owners will enjoy their residences, the exceptional range of social and recreational possibilities, and the security of knowing everything they will need for years to come is in place. What has been notable about the interest in Moorings Park at Grey Oaks to date is many of the people to whom we speak are in their 60s and early 70s. They are interested in securing their place at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks now. This leads us to believe that once Moorings Park at Grey Oaks is sold out, it will be some time before residences become available.”

The Moorings Park at Grey Oaks sales center is within the Grey Oaks sales center at 2406 Grey Oaks Drive North in Naples. Online at

Article source: