LV Old Town Charrette Background
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Below is a description that will help to understand the approach and process associated with the Lewisville Charrette and Open House, May 11-15, 2009.

Introduction
Key stakeholder and community buy-in will be one of the most important elements to the success of the Old Town Plaza, Mill Street Urban Design and Streetscape Improvements, and the Old Town Transit Oriented Development Master Plan. Community and key stakeholder buy-in needs to start at the beginning of the project and become an integral part of the design process. We have led numerous public processes for capital improvement and urban design/planning projects that have created a successful outcome. Our proposed charrette process for Lewisville, which is described below, will develop consensus among all parties involved, and help to build social capital around the projects.

Charrette Stakeholder Process
We realize that to implement a plaza, a transit oriented development, and the streetscape corridor improvements will require partnerships with the community, property owners, businesses, City of Lewisville, and other appropriate governmental services/agencies and utility companies. We have developed a process that will create a successful outcome and deliverables, while gaining valuable input and consensus among the public and stakeholder interest groups.

Rather than reviewing concepts developed by a consultant team at one or several large public meetings that can be easily dominated by one individual or faction, or conducting a conventional design process that offers inadequate opportunity for public input, our charrette process allows for public and stakeholder groups to be involved over the proposed four day event, followed by an open house at the conclusion of the charrette. Stakeholder meetings will concurrently occur with each like-minded interest group (i.e. Businesses north of Main Street; Parks Dept; DCTA; Mill Street business owners) allowing for meetings to be conducted in a constructive and nonconfrontational atmosphere.

Each stakeholder meeting will be approximately 75 minutes and facilitated by Rebecca Leonard, Principal in Charge and Certified Facilitator from the National Charrette Institute. At the beginning of each stakeholder meeting, Rebecca will lead a 10-minute presentation describing the projects and identifying “national best practices” for TOD, plazas and streetscapes. The purpose of the presentation is to familiarize the stakeholder group with the project, identify the process and rules for the 75-minute work session, and to help the group generate discussion points. After the presentation, Rebecca will lead an intense discussion that focuses on the issues of that particular stakeholder group. For example, during the meeting with businesses on the north side of Main Street, the conversation will most likely focus on their needs for the back of their buildings, how they receive deliveries/service, and how this project can give them a competitive advantage.  Discussions about Mill Street or passenger rail service may not be discussed if it does not directly affect the stakeholder group. Simultaneously, while these meetings are occurring, the Design Workshop team will be developing design and planning concepts that are tested against one another.

Charrette Week Overview
Over the first four days of the charrette, ideas will develop that offer balance between the needs of all interest groups and begin to build consensus. Design concepts will be tested against other proposed alternatives for consideration. All design and planning concepts developed at the charrette will be communicated through plans, sections, details, sketches, and elevations, as appropriate. The design and planning concepts will include:

  • Landscape/streetscape/pedestrian areas;
  • Signage and wayfinding;
  • Transportation and circulation;
  • Land use and lotting;
  • Building form;
  • Plaza amenities and spaces;
  • Parking;
  • Park and open space;
  • Street Configuration;
  • Redevelopment concepts; and
  • Connectivity.


A report summarizing the findings of the workshops will be completed at the conclusion of the charrette. Our team of facilitators, landscape architects, planners, transportation planners, urban designers, environmental graphic designers (wayfinding and signage), and engineers
will be involved during the charrette process for quality assurance purposes and to ensure all applicable areas of planning and design are considered for each of the three projects.

Concluding the Charrette
At the end of the four-day charrette process, we will present the findings of all the key stakeholder meetings, site inventory and analysis, and drawings created at the charrette.

The open house will allow key stakeholders and citizens to review a variety of alternatives and elements of the three projects created during the charrette. We will have project staff representing the different preliminary components mentioned above, while taking additional comment and explaining different concepts. This allows the community one more chance to bring forth comments and ideas before moving forward with the design process. The open house will conclude with a dot voting exercise that will allow the community and key stakeholders to place value on what issues they see as most critical for each project.

 

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