A collaborative process between the developer (Lyme Properties) and the Citizens of West Lebanon to envision a future of smart-growth on the site.
Neighborhood Planning Process
The Lyme Properties master planning process for the former Bailey Bros. site has included extensive community engagement. In November of 2007 Lyme mailed an introductory letter to more than 200 of the closest neighbors and invited them to open a dialogue concerning the future uses of the site. Lyme was very gratified that approximately 100 neighbors responded that they would like to be involved in the planning. Lyme then held a series of four informal neighborhood meetings at the site, with between 30 and 50 neighbors attending each time. Following each meeting Lyme summarized the results and forwarded the information to the expanded mailing list and invited feedback.
To facilitate a dialogue Lyme tried something new: at each meeting everyone was given a wireless keypad and asked to respond, anonymously, to a series of questions. Lyme then instantaneously showed everyone the results of the polling. Some of the results were surprising and everyone learned something new. There was a dialogue at these sessions and Lyme was very impressed that there were thoughtful comments made to some of the questions asked. In response to these comments Lyme modified some questions “on-the-fly” and re-polled with the neighborhood feedback included in the choices. This polling process covered questions about the participants, the essential elements of the fabric of the neighborhood, and desirable forms of open space.
During the neighborhood meetings Lyme also presented what was called a “zoning primer” in which they graphically helped educate the neighbors on the possible uses under the current zoning (images at right) and discussed modifications to the zoning that would enhance the neighborhood and support smart growth principles.
AT RIGHT: Early theoretical zoning studies of what was allowed on the River Park site before the Neighborhood Planning Process and subsequent Master Plan was initiated.
BELOW: A compendium of communications from Lyme Properties to the surrounding community members during the River Park Neighborhood Planning Process from 2007-2009.