EDA discusses design standards for site

Published 8:07 pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Suffolk Economic Development Authority gave preliminary approval to design standards created for its 55-acre site in North Suffolk.

The standards for buildings, parking lots, landscaping and other items are an attempt to “try to create some consistency within the park,” said David Pandoli, a senior associate with Woolpert, which has been hired to work on the office park with the EDA.

The site is bordered by Interstate 664, College Drive and Armstead Road. Together with the neighboring former campus of Tidewater Community College, it was part of a plan prepared in 2011 by the Urban Land Institute that recommended a mixed-use development.

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Pandoli’s suggestions included plenty of sidewalks, incorporating trees already on the site into the landscaping and using other native species to fill in, providing plenty of open space, using appropriate lighting and hiding unattractive necessities such as outdoor trash receptacles.

Landscaping of entry sites is an important feature because “it gives you a sense of arrival to the site,” Pandoli said.

In addition, “open space is a big part of the design of this park,” he said. “That’s what’s going to be the driving force behind attracting people to come to your site.”

He said “lots of sidewalks” should be integrated into the parking lots, and parking lots should not come to a dead end.

“It’s not really conducive to a high-quality development to have a parking lot that, we say, doesn’t go anywhere,” he said.

In other news on the project, according to Kirsten Tynch of Woolpert, the city has approved the traffic study for the site, and utility work is underway.