South Hill, Washington is an unincorporated neighborhood encompassing approximately 19-square miles of Pierce County and has seen tremendous growth over the last 30-years. In 1994, planners with Pierce County Planning and Land Services (PALS), began updating its existing Comprehensive Plan and Development Regulations, which included a South Hill Community Plan. The plan, however, only provided direction and guidelines regarding the location and intensity of land uses, not mandates. South Hill has since become a fast growing and vastly automobile oriented suburban community. Today, single family suburban homes permeate nearly every block. Many housing projects were underway when the housing market crashed in the United States in 2009. Acres of land were cleared and graded and in many cases the streets and plumbing were already completed, like the picture shown above. Since 2009 these desert-like wastelands sat vacant and unimproved.
Now, into the middle of 2012, one of those wasteland-like developments known as Emerald Pointed at Sunrise is nearing completion of their next phase. The planned community contains some new features and unique looking house designs that are not normally found in a modern suburban neighborhood. Their Urban Collection features curbside front entryways; indicative of the old New York neighborhoods, and 2-car garages in the back and out of sight. Their City Collection’s style resembles modern single-family homes with unattractive garage doors in the front. But the planned community also includes attached town-homes, known as their Metropolitan Collection.
Equally as interesting as the variety of homes on one site, is that each new home in wired with technology that allows you to control your home from their inSync mobile device application. You can turn on the thermostat and lights before you come home, adjust the temperature, create personal mood ambiance; which can all save energy, making it a slightly more sustainable home. The community will also preserve chunks of the original forest the area once had.
While only the first-phase of this more contemporary planned community is underway, it will likely spur development on the adjacent vacant propertie which include a Community Center (CC) zoning district that permits some commercial and dinning options intended for pedestrian use.
What new and innovative suburban housing projects have you seen in your area?
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