Downtown Master Plan - Myrtle Beach, SC

0618mbThe 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. 

Long Range Plan Review - Fayetteville, NC

Fayetteville

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

0618chBenchmark 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

motsu jlus committeeMilitary 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

discoveryA 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

pilotBenchmark 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

henderson countyBenchmark 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

alleghanyAlleghany 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

courthouse gatesville webThe 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

hollyspring thHolly 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

grissom webBenchmark 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

uptown greenwood webThe 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

pilot webThe 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

burlington webThe 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

Navassa webThe 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

wil frontOver 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

richlandtomatoesBenchmark 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

suffolk va dtBenchmark 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. 

Neighborhood Plan - Cape Girardeau, MO

CapeGirardeauBridgeBenchmark is partnering with the City of Cape Girardeau, Missouri to develop a plan for the Red Star neighborhood, which is located just north of the city’s downtown on the Mississippi River. The neighborhood, which is named after the Red Star shoe factory that once served as an anchor of the community, experienced significant flooding several years ago. Following the flood, the city received FEMA grant funds to purchase impacted properties, and is now working with the neighborhood association to plan for the future use of those properties while also developing a holistic plan to strengthen the neighborhood. Benchmark will be leading the planning effort with support from city staff and the neighborhood association. The plan is being prepared at no cost to the city through Benchmark’s pro bono technical assistance program.

Downtown Organizational Assessment – Lynchburg, VA

Lynchburg DowntownBenchmark is working closely with downtown Lynchburg to provide an organizational assessment and guidance on a strategic work plan.  Benchmark is helping downtown Lynchburg develop an organizational framework for on-going partnerships between business and development interests, local government and other public entities; and the wider community of downtown supporters; organizational staffing, leadership, and funding strategies; and developing organizational strategies and implementation priorities.

Fort Bragg Joint Land Use Study - Fayetteville, NC

FortBraggBenchmark Planning has been selected to prepare the Fort Bragg Joint Land Use Study.  The massive growth on Fort Bragg has spawned much private sector development in the surrounding municipalities and counties – particularly in the five-mile area encircling Fort Bragg’s boundaries.  Much of the ensuing development (mainly in the past eight years since the last JLUS was completed) may be incompatible with the military training mission.  Fort Bragg is a major US Army installation covering an area of over 251 square miles and containing over 162,000 acres of land.  It has the largest military population of any US Army post – approximately 145,519 people in 2014 (including both soldiers and their dependents).  Over the past thirty years Fort Bragg has experienced a huge construction boom – expanding from 23 million square feet of building space in 1985 to 52.2 million square feet in 2014.  It is also the home of the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), which is collocated with the US Army Reserve Command, the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

Multi-Jurisdictional Land Use Plan – City of Sanford, Lee County & Town of Broadway, NC

TobaccoFarm LeeCountyThe City of Sanford, Lee County and the Town of Broadway are working together to prepare a multi-jurisdictional land use plan.  The land use plan is intended to serve as both a physical and policy plan to guide each jurisdiction over the next 10 to 20 years. The plan will focus on helping elected officials and citizens make informed decisions concerning land use and development.  As part of the planning process, focus group meetings with stakeholders will be conducted to receive guidance and feedback on the topics covered by the plan. The updated plan will establish meaningful and achievable goals, as well as strategies and policies for the implementation of the plan. Benchmark Planning was selected to lead the planning process.

Strategic Planning Retreat – Downtown Raleigh Alliance, NC

RaleighDowntownRecently, Benchmark facilitated the annual strategic planning retreat for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA). The DRA is an award-winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue the revitalization of Raleigh’s downtown by enhancing its quality of life and contributing to its economic success. On a day-to-day basis, DRA provides six core services designed to support its primary stakeholders (property owners, government officials, business owners): 1. Safety, Hospitality & Clean Ambassadors; 2. Strategic Branding & Community Communications; 3. Special Events Production; 4. Retail Attraction & Merchant Promotions; 5. Strategic Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement; and 6. Strategic Planning.

Downtown Urban Design Plan - City of Concord, NC

concorddowntownBenchmark Planning was recently commissioned to prepare a Downtown Urban Design Plan for the City of Concord, NC.  The transformative plan will be based upon significant stakeholder and focus group outreach that will include a week-long design charrette.  The plan will examine existing conditions, previous studies, market potential and a recent parking study.  The plan will recommend conceptual streetscape improvements along with development recommendations for opportunity sites in order to establish a clear framework for investment in the city’s thriving downtown.

Comprehensive Land Use & Transportation Plan - City of Aiken, SC

aikenThe City of Aiken, SC  (pop. 29,524) recently commissioned Benchmark Planning to prepare an update to its comprehensive plan. With a thriving historic core that represents one of the few planned cities in the South of its vintage, the city has blossomed over the years into a destination for equestrian activities and golfing. Located in close proximity to both the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Augusta, GA, Aiken has benefitted significantly from the economic growth in the region. The focus of the planning effort will be to establish a framework for continued growth and economic development that also preserves the city’s character.