Erlanger charrette process seeks public’s imagination

CommonwealthStation will develop over time within an area across Commonwealth Avenue from the Erlanger City Building according to a strategy being developed with the assistance of city residents. Under a contract between the city and NKAPC, meetings with residents were held recently to help with a community vision for this area—a vision that will be captured in a new form-based zoning code for the area.

A form-based code is a place-specific tool. Unlike conventional zoning, it cannot be applied to different, individual areas around the city.

“A form-based code would help give the area and the people and the property there a little boost,” said Erlanger Mayor Tom Rouse. “It’s an attempt to take a look at the area and give it a shot in the arm.”

The city decided to create this community vision through a process called a “charrette”. A charrette is an intensive multi-day planning and design session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a co-author of the vision.

The City of Erlanger held the charrette on November 16 and 17. A design team of professors and students from Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning were hired to assist in this activity. Outreach for the event included the distribution of more than 150 flyers to businesses and residents, signs posted throughout the area, notice posted online and on the electronic message board in front of the city building.

Over the two-day period, residents, business owners, and people who work in the area had the opportunity to offer their feedback and hear more formal presentations given at the end of each day. The design team worked both days to incorporate comments from the public, the steering committee, and the city into multiple development alternatives for the site. The design teams will produce refined final versions of each of the alternatives in December, which will then be presented to the public for additional feedback.