Join me on Oct. 14 at PhiusCon 2021 (Passive House) in Tarrytown, New York, where Staengl Engineering and I will be presenting clever solutions to non-standard situations that arise in passive house commercial buildings like animal hospitals, cideries and kitchens. I am thrilled to be part of an esteemed group of speakers scheduled to present Oct. 12-15 at the conference.
The Mcallister Village concept is to create a neighborhood of small starter homes a short walk from coffee shops, restaurants and the future downtown Crozet. The site is designed to push the parking to the outside, create courtyard entries to all the houses, open up a shared central green with a shared pavilion, and be enhanced with perimeter walking trails. This idea was inspired by The Boiceville Cottages in Brooktondale, NY not far from Ithaca, NY
The houses will be compact one bedrooms with lofts attached to compact lofted two bedroom or three bedroom houses. The one bedroom houses fit somewhere in-between apartments and single family detached houses in the market; a segment largely ignored for decades due to outdated zoning codes. The houses utilize a versatile lofted design to provide more storage and living area for singles, couples and young families. The construction details are simple and elegant; reducing cost, increasing thermal efficiency and maximizing space.
The proposal asks to either fix the blatant mathematical errors in the R-2 zoning code or rezone the property to PRD (Planned Residential Development) from R-2 to allow for our creative redesign. The total amount of families would be the same as by-right, but the by-right attached accessory units (adus) would be expressed as more desirable attached one bedroom cottages that can be bought or rented separately:
This project is currently shelved unless a forward thinking developer wants to take on securing the property and going through the county rezoning process. Contact us for more information
This interesting little mixed use project is located on a busy arterial road on one edge and a much quieter neighborhood street on another. The plan is to build a small office building along the arterial road with a residential pocket neighborhood along the neighborhood street. More information on the project can be found here.
Shimp Engineering came up with the site design for the developer, Gallifrey Enterprises. We were tapped to help the surrounding neighbors and local leaders get a better understanding of how the project would feel on the corner. We built a really quick set of renderings, designed an inexpensive but attractive office building, and were able to provide design feedback from the visualization. With the renderings in hand, the project received approval from the County in 2020.
The parking requirements for the site are quite large, causing it to take up a lot of the site. The affects of this amount of parking were toned down by tucking the parking behind the buildings and providing as many trees on the site as possible
The pocket neighborhood features a dozen houses around a shared greenspace which is hoping to attract life with its shared pavilion for outdoor gatherings and kids playground. The parking is in the remote parking areas so that the greenspace stays free of automobiles.
Bamboo grove was approved last week by the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, which means that the project is moving forward. We get to build a little pocket neighborhood in walking distance to downtown Crozet!
Thank you so much to Nicole and Justin from Gallifrey who filled in the gaps of my development knowledge to make the rezoning process as smooth as it can be. County staff and officials have all been great to work with; I’m proud of how much care they put into their complex job of city building.
Special thanks to everyone who offered encouragement and advice through all of the project’s many different iterations, especially our wonderful neighbors. I’ve received so much positive feedback on the designs from the community and neighbors; I hope that this project becomes a beacon for how to create small scale, affordable, community focused, walkable places to live that fit in with and strengthen the surrounding neighborhoods.
Part of my philosophy is to make it easier for this type of neighborhood to be built in the area, so please feel free to contact me about questions, ideas or dream projects. Here is the slide deck from the Board of Supervisor’s meeting
Lisa Martin wrote a wonderful story in the Crozet Gazette about the little neighborhood we’re trying to build and how it came to be.
Hear from founders in the Charlottesville sustainability movement in this dynamic panel discussion. Panelists will share their experiences with careers in green building and sustainability, as well as advice for future generations. Come be inspired by local leaders and gain insights on building sustainability into your work and personal endeavors. This is the first in a series of thought leadership presentations across Virginia in 2020.
Our Charlottesville panelists include:
- Bob Crowell, 2RW
- Susan Elliott, City of Charlottesville
- Annette Osso, Resilient Virginia
- Galen Staengl, Staengl Engineering
Lunch will be provided
This presentation is approved for I GBCI CE credit
Fee: $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.
Our meeting space is generously donated by the City of Charlottesville.
Thank you so much to everyone who came to the first neighborhood meeting on February 12th for our little Bamboo Grove pocket neighborhood! Your encouragement and great questions made it an educational and fun experience. I wish that we had more time to talk, but as always if you have any other questions or comments please contact us.
Here are the presentation slides that framed our discussion:
Bamboo Grove is a miniature neighborhood with six compact, affordable and energy efficient houses is designed for an acre of land a few blocks from downtown Crozet. Shared green space between the houses anchors the neighboorhood together while walking trails and sidewalks connect it to nature and the surrounding community. Common landscaped areas, patio, bicycle parking and mail area will be located between the vehicles and the houses to encourage the informal interaction so essential to build a feeling of belonging to a community.
This type of housing is often referred to as a “Cottage Court”, “Bungalow Court”, or “Pocket Neighborhood” and provides a housing choice that is desirable, affordable and very rare in the current housing stock. All the houses will have a compact design which will help them fit in well with the surrounding neighborhood and will make them more affordable than almost every new house being constructed in the surrounding Crozet area.
The area next to the stream running through the property will be dedicated for Public use as a part of the proposed future greenway trail system that is shown in the Crozet Master Plan.
Rain gardens, native surface landscaping and other green infrastructure techniques will be used as much as possible to manage stormwater from hard surfaces on the site and from the areas draining through it. The site lies next to a small stream, so careful design will be used to filter and slow down the water travelling through the site as much as possible with tools that work with the existing environmental features. The existing topography will be respected and used to enhance the character of the neighborhood. For more details go to the project page:
Tour the first Passive House in Virginia with the General Contractor and Owner as they explain the intentions going into the project and lessons learned. Lankford Passive House has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and about 2,250 square feet.
The green home has triple-pane Serious Windows 725 Series, double-stud wall framing, FSC-certified framing lumber and plywood, structural insulated sheathing with taped seams, a hybrid wall with nine inches of Agribalance open cell spray foam and cellulose insulation, a roof with Agribalance open cell spray foam and two inches of closed cell roof foam, a white roof, and an exterior with stucco and Western Red Cedar.
The home includes several other green elements, including a 1,100-gallon rainwater harvesting system, locally-sourced slate, regionally-sourced red oak floors with a water-based low-VOC finish, and building finishes from cherry and locust trees harvested on the site.
I GBCI and AIA CE credit pending approval
Fee: $5 for members and $15 for nonmembers.
Attached housing is a really smart way to increase density and provide affordable, small housing in walkable neighborhoods, but it is illegal in most places. Duplexes don’t have to be ugly! This is a gallery of lovely examples where attached housing not only fit well into an existing neighborhood, but is also really attractive. Help normalize and re-legalize missing middle housing by adding your pictures to and sharing galleries like these!