Michigan’s Largest Neotraditional Community
The small hamlet of Cherry Hill was established over 150 years ago in Southeastern Michigan. For the past half century, most of the basic elements of the area have remained unchanged even though development has continually crept towards the village as the Detroit metropolitan area expanded westward. In 1998, with the edge of suburbia less than a mile away, Canton Township adopted a Master Plan for the area “to weave a pattern of new development which maintains and respects the vestige of a past historical era.” Following the Township’s lead, Biltmore recognized that Cherry Hill Village (CHV) offered a unique opportunity to build upon the historic character of the village as a cornerstone for the inevitable growth coming its way.
Given this challenge of integrating significant new development into an historic fabric, the CHV Plan responded to two main goals. First, to make a significant contribution to the evolution of the village by responding and contributing to the history of the area. Second, to bring to fruition the vision established by the Township, while adequately meeting the desires of future residents for housing, shopping, employment, recreation and community amenities.
In order to accomplish these goals in the highest tradition of American community-building, the Plan has evolved through a cooperative, interactive partnering process among the planning team (Looney Ricks Kiss), Township officials, Biltmore, interested citizens and future residents of the village. This process included public outreach through a unique Community Vision Survey open to all Township citizens and prospective homebuyers throughout the region. In an effort to more fully educate all parties involved with the process, the planning team facilitated numerous workshop meetings with Township officials and a tour of similar projects built out-of-state. A planning charrette that allowed all interested parties to participate in the creation of the plan as a team was conducted at the historic schoolhouse in the heart of the village.
The resulting CHV Concept Plan encompasses 338 acres contained in 11 tracts of land. The program calls for both civic and commercial uses to anchor the public realm in the village core from which diverse traditional neighborhoods containing a mix of more than 1,291 new homes will extend. The village is projected to require more than a decade to build out at a value of approximately $400 million dollars. As part of the community building effort, the Township is contributing several “civic anchors” in the village center in order to enhance it as a destination.
The CHV Concept Plan was designed using traditional neighborhood design principles focusing on creating a pedestrian friendly streetscape by narrowing streets, removing garages as the focal element of the front of homes, emphasizing front porches and creating usable public spaces in the form of neighborhood parks and squares; mixing uses within the village center; mixing unit types along the streets creating interesting and diverse streetscapes and requiring traditional architecture for its homes such as Tudor, Greek Revival, English Colonial, Victorian, Italianate and American Farmhouse styles.
Due to the public-private effort established, the CHV planning process has been expeditious in comparison to the typical project in Michigan and almost anywhere in the country. This planning process began in 1998, with the Township’s Master Plan for the area. Within approximately one year, the CHV Concept Plan had received all Planned Development approvals. The first phase of construction commenced in mid-2000. Phases One and Two land development are completed and Phase Three began construction in spring of 2003.
This project truly is a joint public-private effort — something that is very often missing in the place-making process. Underscoring the cooperative effort between the developer and the Township is the composition of the “crowning jewel” — the new village square. The enclosure of the square is accomplished through several mixed-use commercial buildings to be built by the developer as well as several Township civic buildings that will occupy key sites terminating views. The CHV Concept Plan and planning process provides a successful framework for both community and regional planning in fast-developing communities located on the metropolitan fringe.
Services Provided by Biltmore
- Master Developer of all of Cherry Hill Village
- Builder of approximately 45% of the homes
- Builder of all retail/office buildings within the Village
- 338 Acres
- 4-6 Dwelling Units Per Acre
- Originally 1291 For Sale Attached and Detached Homes
- Revised Approved Plan 1900+ Units
- Approximately 60,000 Square Feet of Commercial/Office
- “Development of the Year” from the Michigan Society of Planners in 2000