Joint Land Use Study - Neosho, MO

crowderwebsiteBenchmark will be performing the compatibility assessment, digital cartography and mapping for the Camp Crowder, Missouri, Joint Land Use Study.  The study will identify locations in which land use conflicts between the civilian population and the military installation are currently occurring, or may potentially occur. Once identified, the JLUS will make recommendations for mitigating or preventing these conflicts. The outcome will ensure that Camp Crowder can meet its mission, while simultaneously protecting civilian interests.


Mount Airy Main Street Award

Mount Airy's Main Street was recently recognized as the state's greatest main street by the NC Chapter of the American Planning Assoication.  Benchmark is serving as the City's Planning Department, providing a full range of planning services including: zoning and subdivision administration, code enforcement, long-range planning, historic district/commission administration, downtown planning and facade grant technical support, and GIS services.


Fort Jackson Region JLUS Implementation

In November of 2009, the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) Board of Directors adopted the Fort Jackson/McEntire Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) –final report.  The JLUS plan was the culmination of a cooperative planning process that brought together a diverse set of public and private stakeholders interested in preserving the long term viability of the Columbia area military installations. The primary outcome of this project was a prioritized list of recommended action strategies for reducing encroachment and facilitating future collaboration between the study partners. The region is now moving forward with implementing a number of these recommended action strategies through the development of two (2) small-area land use plans focusing on portions of the larger JLUS study area that are particularly vulnerable to future encroachment and compatibility issues.

The Central Midlands COG, in cooperation with Richland County, City of Columbia, Fort Jackson, McEntire JNGB, has hired Benchmark’s consulting team to conduct these two JLUS implementation projects:

Read more: Fort Jackson Region JLUS Implementation

Weaverville Comprehensive Land Use Plan

The Town of Weaverville is located in the mountains of Western North Carolina in the northern section of Buncombe County, just 10 miles north of Asheville.   Weaverville borders Reem’s Creek Valley and boasts grand views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The Town of Weaverville has commissioned Benchmark to prepare its Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update.  The Plan is intended to serve as both a physical and policy plan to guide the Town in its future decision making concerning land use, development and redevelopment, mobility, infrastructure, economic development, community facilities, parks and recreation, as well as neighborhood and community enhancement for the next 20 years. In addition, the Plan will contain realistic goals, strategies and policies for implementation of the plan.  Benchmark will focus on community design, land use planning, economics, and citizen participation through a project website during the process.

Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities

The Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Planning Project is developing a plan for sustainability for the 12-County Piedmont Triad Region. In order to be successful, business, governmental and non-profit leaders in each county need to fully understand the principles of sustainable design and development. Benchmark is part of the Deisgn Link Team coordinated through the Center for Creative Economies that consists of design professionals and planners who will be working on specific sites in 11 Triad counties, helping develop a model of smart growth and sustainable design during each charrette. The team will help create “pilot projects” that can be used to showcase best practices for sustainable design and development throughout the region.

Creating sustainable communities means building an urban, suburban or rural community with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools, through a means that result in healthy, livable, and safe neighborhoods. The goal is to help build the local economy and protect the environment, while exercising responsible spending. In addition to delivering a conceptual plan to each location, the effort will be used to raise awareness of sustainable design principles.

Dubuque County, IA - Heritage Trail

Dubuque County, Iowa is located along the Mississippi River at the point where three states meet (Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin) — a community often referred to as the Tri-State Area. In the City of Dubuque, you can view the Mississippi River Valley and all three states from the top of the bluffs that overlook the Mighty Mississippi. The county has a population of almost 94,000 according to the 2010 Census.

Heritage Trail is a 26-mile multi-use recreational trail comprised of compacted crushed limestone that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way connecting the City of Dubuque on the eastern edge of the county to the City of Dyersville on the western edge of the county. Currently, the county, seven cities and the Dubuque Soil and Water Conservation district are working together on a Regional Comprehensive Plan that uses the 13 comprehensive planning elements and 10 smart planning principles in the State Code to add sustainability goals and objectives into each of the communities' comprehensive plans.

Read more: Dubuque County, IA - Heritage Trail

Fort Leonard Wood, MO - Regional JLUS

Benchmark's consulting team has been selected to perform the Joint Land Use Study for the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Joint Land Use Study.  Fort Leonard Wood is a 62,911 acre military base located in Pulaski County, Missouri, two miles south of Interstate 44. Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center (MANSCEN), where all chemical, engineer, military police, transportation soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and international students from allied nations receive training. The Mission of MANSCEN is to provide the nation with value-based individuals, leaders, and teams trained in basic combat skills including chemical, engineer, military police and transportation disciplines.

Read more: Fort Leonard Wood, MO - Regional JLUS

Southern Pines - Historic District Guidelines

Hill Studio of Roanoke, Virginia, and Benchmark were recently selected to assist the Town of Southern Pines in preparing historic district guidelines. Hill Studio will bring years of experience in historic preservation and architecture, while Benchmark will lend their practical experience in developing sound and understandable development regulations throughout North Carolina.  Together, Benchmark and Hill Studio have significant experience and expertise in working with small jurisdictions concerned with downtown revitalization and historic preservation.

Fort Lee, VA - Regional Joint Land Use Study

The Crater Planning District Commission, lead agency for the Fort Lee JLUS, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, Virginia has hired Benchmark's consulting team to prepare the Fort Lee Region Joint Land Use Study.

The Fort Lee Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) planning process will identify locations where land use conflicts between the civilian population and the military installation are presently occurring or are likely to occur in the future. Once these locations have been identified, land use and other relevant regulations that are developed during the JLUS planning process will be proposed to the local governing bodies. The overall outcome will ensure that Fort Lee can continue and/or modify its missions in the future with as little hindrance as possible, while also ensuring that civilian interests are protected to the greatest possible degree.

Read more: Fort Lee, VA - Regional Joint Land Use Study

Pedestrian Plan - Angier, NC

The Town of Angier has received a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Branch to develop a Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan.  The Town has commissioned Benchmark to develop the plan under the direction of a steering committee.  The plan will involve significant public input through surveys and public meetings.  The plan will help raise the awareness of pedestrian safety issues and help create a more connected community. The plan development process will be completed by December of 2013.

Redevelopment Charrette - Elkin, NC

Benchmark was a key team member in the mulit-day redevelopment charrette for a key civic property within downtown Elkin.  The property is being proposed for a regional trail hub and visitors center that will host the National Parks Service, local artisans work, while providing a venue for local musicians as well.  The workshop was part of the larger Piedmont Together design charrettes that Benchmark was selected to participate in with Design Link of the Center for Creative Economies.

Read more: Redevelopment Charrette - Elkin, NC

Center City Master Plan - Kannapolis, NC

After months of development and public input, the City of Kannapolis has unanimously adopted the Center City Master Plan. This document was prepared to provide the City of Kannapolis with a prioritized set of goals for the ongoing development and revitalization of the Center City.  The plan and its recommendations are intended to complement and support, not supplant, other efforts that the City has undertaken in the furtherance of the redevelopment of the area following the departure of Pillowtex and the establishment of the North Carolina Research Campus.

Read more: Center City Master Plan - Kannapolis, NC

Wayfinding Plan - Angier, NC

The Town of Angier has received a Department of Transportation grant to complete the design and installation of wayfinding signage within the downtown and along commercial highway corridors.  The Town has contracted with Benchmark to prepare the designs and develop a plan for the overall wayfinding system.  The plan is expected to be completed by April 2011.

“Wayfinding” is a method by which towns can direct visitors to attractions within the community and guide them along the major gateway corridors the community desires to highlight. Benchmark will help Angier identify and layout a clear and concise wayfinding system of signs leading to the downtown and points of interest in the downtown area.  The sign system is being developed in accordance with the new NCDOT guidelines that govern wayfinding signage on State maintained roadways.

Asheville Metro Area - Regional Study

The Land-of-Sky Regional Council has contracted with Benchmark to prepare the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) for a five county region in Western North Carolina (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania). The AI will serve as the Council’s working plan to further the cause of fair housing and to assist in comprehensive Fair Housing planning.  Land-of-Sky Regional Council is a Council of Governments that is working with the City of Asheville, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entitlement city as, the principal city within the region.  The City of Asheville is also the Participating Jurisdiction (PJ) for the “Asheville Regional Housing Consortium,” managing HOME funds for Asheville and participating governments in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties.

Read more: Asheville Metro Area - Regional Study

Main Street Design Award - Ayden, NC

The Town of Ayden was presented the 2010 NC Small Town Main Street Design award on January 27th, 2011, at the North Carolina Main Street Conference held in Shelby, North Carolina.  The awards jury recognized the Town for its vision and committment in the dramatic transformation of the Town's West Avenue Stage.  This rehabilitation project highlights how a Town can rehabilitate similar facilities in a context sensitive and cost effective manner. The Town worked with Benchmark CMR, Inc. to develop the concept and vision for the rehab project.  Illustrations were prepared to generate excitement throughout the community for the project.

Read more: Main Street Design Award - Ayden, NC

Comprehensive Plan & UDO - Forest City, NC

Town of Forest City, NC - Historic Downtown Design Guidelines and Overlay District, Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Unified Development Ordinance.  The Town of Forest City, population 7,476, is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  Forest City is consistently recognized for its successful planning and implementation efforts over the years including its award winning downtown baseball stadium that is home to the Forest City Owls of the Coastal Plain League, a summer collegiate league.  Recently, Facebook announced it will be opening a $450 Million data center in Forest City by 2012 employing 250 construction and mechanical workers during the building process and approximately 45 persons once the facility is operational.  Forest City enjoys a beautiful downtown with large oak trees, lush landscaping, and preserved historic structures with very few vacancies.

Read more: Comprehensive Plan & UDO - Forest City, NC

Facade 101 Workshop - Goldsboro, NC

NCDDA is hosting a Facade Improvements 101 Workshop in Downtown Goldsboro on Thursday, September 22 from 11:00 to 2:00.  This workshop is your opportunity to bring staff, volunteer committee members and elected officials to learn about façade grants and to experience the impacts first hand in downtown Goldsboro.  The interactive workshop on façade improvement grants will encourage discussion on:

  •  Funding Alternatives

  •  Design Criteria

  •  Rehab Code Issues

  •  Starting or re-establishing a grant program

Read more: Facade 101 Workshop - Goldsboro, NC

Uptown Lexington Facade Project

Benchmark's Jason Epley, AICP was an urban design team member for the Lanier's Hardware revitalization project in Lexington, North Carolina.  Lanier's was established in 1940 and is a destination business in Uptown Lexington.  Designs were prepared for the Main Street and State Street facades that incorporated the old Lanier's logo with the new Destination True Value brand.  After meeting with the property owners, the design team realized how important it was to the family to maintain their identity, while accomodating their transformation to a Destination True Value store.  The Team developed a new logo and signage, facade improvement designs and a new site layout for the parking area.  The store had its grand opening on October 14 and the new Main Street awnings and signage will be installed by the end of October.

Read more: Uptown Lexington Facade Project

Burgaw and Warsaw - Facade Grants

The towns of Burgaw and Warsaw were selected by the North Carolina Downtown Development Association to receive the 2010 NCDDA Facade Grant Award. These towns were selected out of 14 applications from towns throughout the state. In recognition of their outstanding applications, which highlighted each town’s commitment to downtown revitalization and historic preservation, Burgaw received $3,500 and Warsaw received $2,500. In addition to the monetary award, which is designated for assisting property owners with the rehabilitation of their building facades, the Towns also were awarded site visits and technical assistance to assist property owners develop plans for using the grant funds. 

Read more: Burgaw and Warsaw - Facade Grants

Smithfield, NC - Historic Hotel Redevelopment Study

The Town of Smithfield is the county seat of one of the fastest growing counties in the State, Johnston County.  Located on the eastern edge of the Triangle, twenty-nine miles from Raleigh, Smithfield has a successful downtown, a large retail outlet mall, the Ava Gardner museum, and several historic sites, making it a destination for travelers along the I-95 corridor.

Benchmark is a key team member on the multi-disciplinary team assembled by the North Carolina Downtown Development Association to study the feasibility of redeveloping the Gabriel Johnston Hotel building (c. 1935), which played host to Smithfield’s favorite daughter, Ava Gardner, on her visits home.  Team members met for a two-day charrette with the Town and key stakeholders to begin drafting the study and overall redevelopment concepts.

Read more: Smithfield, NC - Historic Hotel Redevelopment Study