After seven years of planning and nine
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    OCT. 1, 2004
After seven years of planning and nine months of site preparation, homes are slated to be under construction in Norton Commons in October. The 600-acre new town near Louisville, Kentucky, will eventually have 2,880 houses and 560,000 square feet or retail and office space. Civic buildings planned include schools, churches, a library, a post office, and police and fire stations. The first phase will include a section of the village center along with residential blocks. Initial building types include live/work units, a variety of detached house types, townhouses, and two types of condominiums, New Urban News was told by David Tomes, a partner of Traditional Town LLC, the developer. A pattern book created by Steve Mouzon of PlaceMakers in Miami will guide the builders. Mouzon and Michael Watkins of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) are reviewing plans submitted by the builders. DPZ did the urban plan. The developer is seeking a balance between architectural quality and cost control, Tomes says. The competition is conventional suburban product. Fiber cement siding by HardiPlank will likely be used by many of the builders, Tomes says. The manufacturer has worked with installers to get the price down, he adds. Simulated divided-light windows will be specified for frontages, while builders will be free to choose for rear elevations and side elevations that do not face the street. Tomes had little trouble getting approval for narrow residential streets — most range from 24 to 27 feet wide, curb to curb. The developer has had some presales — despite having no sales center open (it is scheduled to be open when home construction begins). “We feel there is a strong desire for a traditional home product,” he says. “It’s just not being built [by anybody else] at this time.” The biggest problems have been related to weather. Louisville has been hit by major storms and has had one of the wettest years on record, Tomes says. This has slowed installation of public utilities. Louisville has a wealth of beautiful traditional houses that are inspiring the designs for Norton Commons, Tomes says. The layout of the plan, with many curvilinear blocks, follows a tradition of Olmsted-designed neighborhoods in the city.