Valley Boulevard Corridor Study - Blowing Rock, NC
In the Spring of 2019, the Town of Blowing Rock formed a committee to study the US 321 / Valley Boulevard corridor. The Town engaged Benchmark Planning to assist with the study, working close with the community and the committee to create a vision for the corridor. The study area extended approximately 2.5 miles along Valley Boulevard from Main Street on the south end to Blowing Rock Lodge on the north end. Blowing Rock is an historic mountain resort community that serves as the gateway to the NC High Country, and is the de facto cultural capital of the region. With numerous ski resorts, National and State Parks, and a direct connection to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock is a year-round destination for vacationers. Blowing Rock has also emerged as a highly regarded retirement destination, which has led to significant increases in economic activity in the local healthcare industry.
Development Code Rewrite - York County, SC
Benchmark Planning is part of a team led by White & Smith to assist York County with updating their development code – Recode York County. Recode York County is an initiative to review, update, and realign York County's Zoning and Subdivision Codes to better reflect the current and future development context in the county. The revised land use and development ordinances will be updated to implement the policies and goals of 2035 York Forward, the County's adopted Comprehensive Plan, as well as associated small area plans. Other goals of the process include: a) Modernizing the Codes to incorporate current best practices; b) Making the Codes more user-friendly, with additional graphics and a more intuitive organizational structure; c) Improving consistency between the Codes and related County ordinances, standards and regulations; d) Enhancing the predicatbility of development outcomes; e) Permitting flexibility, where appropriate; and f) Eliminating barriers to development that is consistent with adopted plans. York County is located within the fast growing Charlotte Metropolitan Area.
Joint Comprehensive Plan - Person County / City of Roxboro, NC
Person County and the City of Roxboro have embarked on a joint planning process to develop a Comprehensive Plan that will be guided by a common vision for the future. Benchmark’s consulting team has been selected to assist with the collaborative process. Person County and the City of Roxboro are strategically located for business and industry growth, being within an hour’s drive of North Carolina's two major economic centers, the Research Triangle Park (Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh) and the Piedmont Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point), and a two-hour drive of Richmond, Virginia.
Union Station Adaptive Reuse Study – Goldsboro, NC
Benchmark Planning is leading a multi-disciplinary team in the preparation of an NCDOT and City of Goldsboro funded feasibility study for the reuse of the historic Goldsboro Union Station. The team will examine existing conditions, market forces and the surrounding neighborhood as part of the process. The process will also include extensive stakeholder meetings to help identify community needs and ideas for the adaptive reuse of the station. The station provides a distinct terminus to views from downtown and its adaptive reuse will help spur the continued revitalization of the West Walnut corridor, which includes a multi-million-dollar residential redevelopment of the historic Wayne National Bank located in the 100 block of West Walnut Street. The reuse options will be designed in a manner to assure the station can be available for passenger or commuter rail use when the service becomes available again in the future. Goldsboro, a city over 35,000 in population, is the home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Compatible Land Use Implementation - Fort Bragg, NC
The Mid-Carolina Council of Governments and the Fort Bragg Regional Land Use Advisory Commission have selected Benchmark Planning to assist with the implementation of the Fort Bragg JLUS. The project will focus on the implementation priorities identified in the 2018 JLUS, promoting compatible land use throughout the six-county region surrounding Fort Bragg. The study will include the development of an online case management and tracking system, an organizational strategic plan, comprehensive plan amendments and the development of a compatible growth ordinance toolbox. Benchmark Planning completed the 2018 Joint Land Use Study in August of last year.
Comprehensive Plan - Archdale, NC
The City of Archdale, population 11,518, is launching its Comprehensive Plan process in close coordination with the celebration of the City’s 50th anniversary. Benchmark Planning was selected to lead the City’s efforts to create a community-driven plan to craft a vision for the City’s next 50 years. The comprehensive plan will have a special focus on placemaking, economic development and managing the quality of growth.
Comprehensive Plan - Colleton County, SC
Colleton County is located in the heart of a National Wildlife Refuge and National Estuarine Research Center that encompasses a total of 350,000 acres primarily across Beaufort, Charleston, and Colleton counties. Benchmark worked with the County to develop its 2009 Comprehensive Plan and is currently assisting the County with its 10-year update to the plan. The plan focuses on the protection of natural resources and the preservation of rural character, while allowing for growth from fast-growing Beaufort and Charleston in areas capable of being developed for urban purposes.
Downtown Master Plan - Myrtle Beach, SC
The City of Myrtle Beach has hired Benchmark Planning to work closely with City Council on the development of a Downtown Master Plan. The Myrtle Beach area is currently ranked as the second fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country and is one of the major centers of tourism the United States, attracting an estimated 19 million visitors each year. Myrtle Beach was built on tourism, and while the City and the surrounding community has experienced unprecedented residential growth for a number of years, tourism is still at the core of the local economy. As an update, the City adopted the Master Plan in March of 2019, retaining the services of Benchmark Planning to assist with the implementation of the plan.
Long Range Plan Review - Fayetteville, NC
Fayetteville, with a population of more than 200,000 residents, is the sixth-largest municipality in the State of North Carolina and is familiar to many as the home of the U.S. Army's most premier military installation, Fort Bragg. Over the years, the city has prepared a number of plans to guide the city’s land use and infrastructure decisions. In an effort to ensure compatibility and cohesiveness among these existing plans, the City of Fayetteville contracted with Benchmark Planning to complete a long range plan review of the city’s existing plans. Each plan will be reviewed and summarized by its major themes and goals. The implementation strategies will be categorized and analyzed for consistency, concluding with recommendations on how the city should move forward with its long range planning program.
Redevelopment Plan - Chapel Hill, NC
Benchmark Planning will be assisting the Town of Chapel Hill with developing conceptual plans for the future land use and redevelopment of the Chapel Hill Police Department. The 10.24 acre site was the location of a coal ash landfill that was active in the 1960s and 1970s. The Town acquired the property in the early 1980s and discovered the coal ash materials in late 2013. Benchmark will help develop a vision for the site, which is intended to lead to a public-private partnership in the remediation and redevelopment of the property.
Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point JLUS - Southport, NC
Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) is the largest military ammunition shipping terminal in the world, the key ammunition shipping point on the Atlantic Coast, the Army's primary east coast deep-water port, and one of a handful of Department of Defense terminals equipped to handle containerized ammunition. It serves as a transfer point between rail, trucks, and ships for the import and export of weapons, ammunition, explosives and military equipment for United States Army and is operated by the 596th Transportation Brigade.
Benchmark Planning was contracted by the Cape Fear Council of Governments to develop the study, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). The primary goal of the study is to promote compatible civilian development to support the long-term sustainability and operability of military installation. The study area includes portions of Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, including the City of Boiling Spring Lakes, the Town of Carolina Beach, the Town of Kure Beach, the Town of Leland, and the City of Southport.
Discovery Place Science Master Plan - Charlotte, NC
A new master plan is being developed for Discovery Place Science in Uptown Charlotte by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Jenkins Peer Architects. Discovery Place, as part of a separate contract, engaged Benchmark Planning to facilitate listening sessions with a variety of external stakeholders and partners to provide input into the process. Discovery Place is recognized as one of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, providing ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage people in the active exploration of science, technology and nature. Discovery Place is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides STEM education to the Carolinas through four distinct museum experiences at Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature and Discovery Place Kids, interactive educational programming, professional development training and community outreach initiatives. In 2017, Discovery Place was named as a finalist for the National Medal by the Institute for Museum and Library Science.
Streetscape Master Plan - Pilot Mountain, NC
Benchmark Planning is working closely with Pilot Mountain on the development of a streetscape master plan to support private investment in downtown. The plan will examine the physical layout of the pedestrian, parking and vehicular zones to prepare an urban design vision and implementation strategy for improving the overall function and design of the streetscape. The plan will also explore ways to highlight views of the pinnacle knob of the mountain at Pilot Mountain State Park.
Development Study - Henderson County, NC
Benchmark is working with Henderson County to prepare a land development study for a proposed wastewater service expansion in the fast growing northern portion of the county between Asheville and Hendersonville. The purpose of the study is to examine potential development scenarios associated with the extension of wastewater infrastructure into a sewer service basin east of Interstate 26 in the vicinity of US Highway 64. The intent of the study is to provide the county commissioners with a comparison of the potential outcomes that could be realized based on the specific type of infrastructure that is chosen to serve a planned school in the upstream portion of the basin (gravity sewer vs. a pump station and force main). The study will consider the residential land supply, development capacity, transportation concerns, public safety, and revenue generation potential in the study area. This will be used to demonstrate the capacity of the planning area to accommodate potential growth and determine the net residential development density necessary to achieve a positive revenue generation outcome for the county (for both general and enterprise funds). The results of the study will then serve as one portion of the base of information used by the county to inform its decision-making process for providing infrastructure to the new school.
Joint Comprehensive Planning Process - Alleghany County & City of Covington, VA
Alleghany County and the City of Covington have decided to leverage their resources and work collaboratively in updating their Comprehensive Plans, last adopted in 2013, by having a joint planning process. What this means is that there is one steering committee that will be working closely with the Benchmark Planning team through the vision, goals, and objectives for the County and the City. The outcome will be one plan for Alleghany County and one plan for the City of Covington, through one shared process. This ensures that both the County and the City grow together cohesively. The planning process will take about a year to complete, with an expected adoption in October 2018.
Comprehensive Plan - City of Gatesville, TX
The City of Gatesville, the county seat of Coryell County, is located along the Leon River at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and State Highway 36, eighty miles north of Austin in the Central Texas region. The city is working with Benchmark Planning to prepare a comprehensive plan that will develop long-term strategies that most effectively capitalize on the growth of Central Texas and the expansive growth of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan area.
Benchmark is working with the City of Gatesville Texas, Fort Hood, and the Central Texas Council of Governments to prepare a new comprehensive plan for the city. As the only city in Fort Hood’s encroachment awareness area without an up-to-date comprehensive plan, this project was deemed to be of critical importance to the implementation of the recently completed Fort Hood Joint Land Use Study due to the absence of a clear growth strategy for areas that are subject to potential military impacts related to high noise levels and aircraft operations in the vicinity of the city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Benchmark is working closely with the city to develop a compatible growth strategy that will allow the city to continue to grow and develop its economy in a manner that is conducive to the long term sustainability of Fort Hood’s military training mission.
Residential Land Development Study - Holly Springs, NC
Holly Springs (pop. 30,021), is a fast-growing community located in suburban Wake County near Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park (RTP). The Town has experienced significant growth over the last two decades, with ongoing opportunities for additional growth in the southern area of the community. Benchmark is currently working with the Town of Holly Springs to prepare a residential land development study as part of the town’s Southern Area Planning Initiative. The purpose of the study is to examine the residential land supply, development capacity, utility extension requirements, municipal service costs, and revenue generation potential in the study area. This information will be used to demonstrate the capacity of the study area to accommodate anticipated growth and determine the net residential development density necessary to achieve a positive revenue generation outcome for the town (for both general and enterprise funds). The results of the study will serve as one portion of the base of information used by the Town to inform the overall direction of the for growth and development in the Southern Area.
Grissom ARB Joint Land Use Study - Miami County, IN
Benchmark Planning is participating on a team led by White & Smith LLC to prepare a Joint Land Use Study for Grissom Air Reserve Base, located near the town of Bunker Hill in Miami County, Indiana. The base is home to the Air Force Reserve’s 434th Air Refueling Wing, with two operational squadrons flying 16 KC-135 tanker aircraft. The study, which is being sponsored by the Miami County Economic Development Authority, is examining land use compatibility around the installation with aircraft operations at the base, including aircraft noise, accident potential, and tall structures. The results of the study will be used to make recommendations for the local governments in the study area to enhance their local land use plans and ordinances to ensure long term compatibility between civilian development in the region and the military mission of Grissom ARB. The study is also examining the potential compatibility impacts of the future conversion of the wing’s current KC-135 aircraft to the new KC-46 tankers that are being acquired to replace the Air Force’s legacy tanker fleet.
Downtown Market Analysis & Mill Redevelopment Feasibility Study – City of Greenwood, SC
The City of Greenwood is located in the Lower Piedmont region of Upstate South Carolina, and provides a friendly, small-town setting along with the progressive and active environment of a larger city. Greenwood is home to numerous community assets including Lake Greenwood, Lander University, Piedmont Technical College, Self Regional Healthcare, Uptown Greenwood, excellent schools, and cultural opportunities.
In 2011, the City of Greenwood acquired the former Kitson Mill site and through its partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Environmental Protection Agency developed a plan to prepare the formerly contaminated site for redevelopment. The city selected Benchmark Planning, in association with Kimley-Horn and Retail Strategies to perform a downtown market analysis and a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the former Kitson Mill site.
Unified Development Ordinance - Town of Pilot Mountain, NC
The Town of Pilot Mountain is nestled within the Yadkin Valley Appellation at the foot of its landmark namesake; the striking pinnacle knob that rises from the ancient Sauratown Mountain chain. The town provides opportunities to connect with nature by exploring the beautiful Pilot Mountain State Park and enjoying the richness of its charming downtown and wineries. The town has engaged Benchmark Planning to develop a unified development ordinance that will help maintain its small-town appeal and character, balancing opportunities for growth with the desire to preserve the unique qualities that have made the town a major tourism destination in the region.
Indoor Recreation Feasibility Study - City of Burlington, NC
The City of Burlington selected Moser Mayer Phoenix and Benchmark Planning to evaluate the feasibility of building an indoor recreation facility in the western area of the city. The study included an online survey and a series of community meetings to explore programming and recreational activities for a new facility. The team evaluated the needs and desires expressed by the community and developed conceptual plans and recommendations for the new facility.
Kerr-McGee Site Redevelopment Plan - Navassa, NC
The 251-acre Kerr-McGee Superfund Site is located just outside of Wilmington in the Town of Navassa along the Brunswick River and Sturgeon Creek. Benchmark Planning has been contracted to participate on a team led by Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust to identify options for the redevelopment of the site. The team is coordinating with a local redevelopment working group to explore feasible, community-supported options for the potential future of the former industrial site.
New Hanover County Block - Site & Market Analysis - Wilmington, NC
Over the past five years, Downtown Wilmington has experienced significant growth and development with over $346 million worth of new investments transforming the historic Downtown. Recently completed projects include new facilities for retail, restaurant, office, residential and hospitality users. More projects are underway or announced that will further grow the retail, hospitality and residential base.
With this influx of activity, New Hanover County government and other civic leaders recognized an opportunity exists to leverage an existing County-owned parking deck and underused public property surrounding the deck to attract more growth and maximize this asset. To move forward, New Hanover County, working with Wilmington Downtown Incorporated (WDI) selected a team led by Benchmark Planning to conduct a Market Demand Analysis to determine viable development opportunities for the Downtown central business district and a Site Analysis to examine land use codes and architectural issues that could lead to the redevelopment of the entire one block site. The Benchmark team includes Kimley-Horn and Moser Mayer Phoenix. Click here to learn more.
Food Systems, Working Lands & Military Readiness - Columbia/Richland County, SC
Benchmark Planning, in association with Greenfield, Kimley-Horn and White & Smith was selected by the Central Midlands Council of Governments to prepare a food system planning and feasibility study to identify opportunities to guide compatible development, particularly south and southeast of Fort Jackson and around McEntire JNGB, by directly connecting compatible conservation and “working” land uses with military readiness priorities. The planning process will focus on examining the feasibility of implementing market-based incentives and strategies to help establish and maintain compatible conservation and “working” land uses in the high priority encroachment areas subject to urban development pressures between the two military installations. This project is based on two priority action strategies identified in the 2009 Fort Jackson-McEntire JLUS plan: 1) Conservation Partnering and economic incentives and 2) Sustainability Partnerships that focus on strategies to improve public infrastructure capacity, protect the environment, and promote economic activity. This work will complement the regulatory approach to encroachment mitigation used in the 2012 JLUS implementation project, which consisted of developing zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan language for two priority sub-areas near the military installations.
The planning assessment will include a “working” land suitability analysis, a peer community/case study review, a comprehensive supply and demand based market analysis of agriculture, forestry, conservation, eco and agri-tourism related industries, and an assessment of institutional demand for regionally produced agricultural and forestry goods with a focus on leveraging the purchasing power of large local anchor institutions with captive consumer markets, such as military installations (Fort Jackson, McEntire, the SC National Guard), hospitals, universities and other large related entities. The study will also contain an assessment of industry related facility, infrastructure, and organizational needs, as well as provide a messaging and outreach strategy for supporting locally produced goods. Finally, the food systems planning process will be conducted within a comprehensive stakeholder and community outreach program that will involve local land owners, farmers, foresters, business leaders, military personnel, non-profit organizations, various state and federal agencies, and the general public.
Downtown Master Plan - City of Suffolk, VA
Benchmark Planning was recently selected to update the Downtown Suffolk Initiatives Plan prepared by Urban Design Associates in 1998. The original plan was created as part of the City's comprehensive plan update process and carried out as a separate study. The updated study will focus on downtown's relationship to the natural environment; local architectural character and tradition; transportation framework; and overall downtown initiatives.