In part one, we talked about how disconnected today's digitally "connected" lifestyle has become. I also started to talk about the features we, at Copper Creek builders have baked in to our newest community called Copper Creek North. These features help set the table for the residents in the community to get to know each other and at the same time, enjoy being outdoors, away from traffic!
Here are 10 Design features that define our Pocket Neighborhoods.
(1) Community "Pocket Parks":
Copper Creek North has four parks ranging in size from approximately ½ - 1 acre in size. They are designed to feel like an extension of the useable yard space for each of the surrounding houses. The park sizes are not so big that they feel like an uninviting public space and not so small that they feel like someone else’s back yard. Each pocket park has the basic amenities like a covered gathering area and plenty of lush, green grass to run around on.
They also provide a visual relief and space in between houses, which makes the community feel more open and spread out. They are placed away from streets to invite quite, non-motorized movement, which also makes them more pedestrian friendly. These pocket parks serve as centers of community, “setting the table” for informal interaction with neighbors.
(2) A network of pedestrian friendly walking paths connecting park spaces:
Residents in Copper Creek North will have over a mile of walking paths, most of which are through the series of park spaces, alongside the creek or neighboring green space -- not alongside busy streets. Walking paths that do not border streets are much more pedestrian friendly because there is no car traffic to dodge or hear. Its surprising how much more peaceful and quiet a park space feels when you separate it from traffic and parking areas. This is one of the design features we are referring to when we say our communities are "designed for people rather than cars". There is still plenty of space to drive and park motor vehicles, we’ve just gone to great lengths to separate the areas designed for traffic (cars, trucks, SUVs) from the areas designed for people.
(3) A Community Center:
The community center is a feature that acts as the glue that holds a tight-knit community together. It will have charming curb appeal but with a simple floor plan, mainly a large open room with enough space to seat 20-30 people, along with a kitchen and storage area for tables and chairs. It will also have a large covered patio outside for warm weather events. The community center is like an extension of each owner's living room, perfect for hosting larger gatherings such as graduation parties, wedding rehearsal dinners, movie nights with the neighbors, yoga classes, small workshops, etc. It can even act as a conference room for owners who work from home and need a tidy meeting space to work outside of their home. It will have a simple online reservation page through the homeowners association website and any homeowner may reserve the facility.
(4) Extra parking bays (9-12 spaces):
Copper Creek North has 4 separate parking bays, each with 9 to 12 parking spaces. They are located in the areas dedicated for traffic. This not only provides extra parking space for owners and guests, but it also helps reduce the amount of parked vehicles on the roadways.
(5) Reduced street widths:
This feature acts in combination with the extra parking bays. As mentioned above, a standard street section is 44 feet wide, which allows people to park anywhere and everywhere, which tends to make the streets feel cluttered. That parking clutter helps to reduce traffic speed on these streets, since there are so many parked cars to maneuver around. If this kind of street does not have any parked cars, it feels excessively wide and almost encourages higher driving speeds. In Copper Creek North we took a different approach. Our streets are slightly narrower which purposely does not allow for parking on both sides of the street. This helps to slow down the traffic because narrower streets means slower traffic and it also reduces the number of parked cars on the street. The extra parking bays we mentioned previously make up for the loss of extra on-street parking. The net effect is slower traffic and a cleaner curb appeal for the community.
(6) Rear-loaded garages to create separation from parks and car traffic:
We build two distinct series of homes and designs. The Parkview and the Vanguard Series. The Vanguard Series homes are on the perimeter of the community, with more traditional garages and driveways on the front of the home. However our Parkview Series of homes -- which make up many of the designs in Copper Creek North -- have garage doors facing the back of the house; we refer to them as “rear loaded” garages. We include these homes in the Parkview Series due to their close proximity to the park spaces. This really helps create connectivity between the homes and the park spaces because it means you don't have to cross the street or dodge traffic to get to the park spaces from your front porch. Another benefit is that it also helps reduce the noise from car traffic that you’ll hear while sipping ice tea on your park-facing front porch on summer evenings. Which brings up another benefit of rear loaded garages...that most conversations between neighbors occurs in the front of their homes, so by limiting the intrusion of cars into this space we hope this allows neighbors to engage more easily with one another. This leads to the next important design feature…
(7) Functional front porches that flow into pocket parks:
A functional front porch is a key element to building a community rather than a tract home subdivision. When built properly, it acts as a social platform where residents can chat with friends/neighbors and also an extra outdoor living space to enjoy. We build our porches big enough to allow space for a 2-4 people to have a comfortable conversation. Additionally, our front porches have a 27”-30” high railing around the perimeter that helps define the space, while at the same time providing an extra surface to place a cup of coffee or even an extra place for a guest to sit while having a casual conversation.
(8) Nested homes:
To ensure privacy between homes, the homes that are a part of the Parkview Series “nest” together: Meaning that the “open” side of one home faces the “closed” side of the next. The open side has large windows facing its side yard; whereas the closed side has high windows. This creates the feeling of privacy of a much larger lot because no neighbors are ever in a position to see inside each other’s windows. This also gives the owners a more usable side yard space. In this area and comparable price range of other communities, the homes would typically have a 5 foot-wide side yard set back on either side of the house. In our opinion, this creates two side yards that are too narrow to have any function whatsoever. Our Parkview plans all have at least 10 foot-wide side yards, which provides a much more functional side yard space. In addition, this area can be enclosed by a 6’ privacy fence, making it perfect for outdoor entertaining with smaller groups.
(9) Windows overlooking parks:
All of our Parkview plans also have what the name implies…a view of the park! In an effort to create better connectivity between the homes and parks, we placed windows so that the park can be viewed from the active, interior spaces such as the kitchen, living room and dining room. This allows a mom or dad to keep a watchful eye on their young child playing in the park without having to leave the kitchen or living room. It’s also a nice advantage to have a view of a park instead of the more traditional view of your neighbor’s house or of the street.
(10) Layering from front porch to park space:
Another design feature exclusive to our Parkview Plans gives our property owners the best of both worlds, in that we add multiple layers between the front porch and the park. This helps define the private space within the front yard, while still keeping it approachable. The first layer is a border of perennial plantings. Second we add a low cedar fence, complete with a swing gate. This defines the private front yard space. Third we add a porch railing and finally a band of flower boxes. These layers are located within the 15’ space between the park space and the front door.
It’s my hope that this concept of a “connected community” has resonated with you or at least caught your attention. If that’s the case, I’d like to invite you come visit Copper Creek North. We’d love to show you around the community, walk you through a few homes and answer any questions you have. We are just getting ready to install the landscaping and fencing, so the place will really start to come to life over the next few weeks! Also, if you know anyone who may be a good fit for the community, please share this with them. I do have to say that sales have been really strong over the past 2 weeks. We only have 4 available vacant lots and a few move-in ready homes in varying stages of construction. Feel free to give us a call or email to check availability and current pricing.
About Copper Creek Communities:
Copper Creek North is Grand Junction’s newest walk-able community with uniquely designed homes that surround a network of pocket parks, connected by pedestrian friendly walking paths and anchored by a community center. The result is a connected community that gives residents more opportunities to get outside and to interact with other people.