Mary Madden, Driehaus Award Jury Chair, presenting award to STP

At the Charter Awards Ceremony on May 5 - held during the Congress for the New Urbanism's 25th Congress in Seattle, Washington - the Form-Based Codes Institute honored Sargent Town Planning's Palm Desert University Neighborhood Specific Plan with one of two annual Driehaus Awards.

Mary Madden, chair of this year's Driehaus Award jury, and Lisa Wise, Chair of the FBCI Board of Directors, presented the STP team with the award.  Present to accept the award were Ryan Stendell, Palm Desert's Community Development Director; David Sargent, Peter VanderWal and Yuan Liu of STP; and John Baucke of New Urban Realty Advisors. In selecting this code for recognition, the jury noted the code's innovative approach to flexibly regulating the subdivision and street network of the neighborhood, the clarity of the development standards, and the document's organization with design guidelines in a separate volume.  

Indian Hill Corridor Plan Area

At their meeting on March 28, the Claremont City Council unanimously authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract with Sargent Town Planning (STP) to prepare a specific plan and environmental impact report for a 17-acre area at the south entrance to the historic Claremont Village.

City staff reported that STP's proposal was one of 15 received, and that after interviewing 5 teams the staff unanimously recommended the STP team for the job. The plan is funded primarily by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), under a TOD planning grant for this area within walking distance of Claremont' existing Metrolink station and planned Gold Line Station scheduled to open in 2025.  Key project objectives include enabling a valuable new mix of uses within currently underutilized and vacant properties, extending Claremont's unique village character south of the tracks, defining a beautiful south gateway to the Village from Arrow Highway, and providing new pedestrian and bicycle connections from neighborhoods south of the tracks to the new transit stations, the Village, and the colleges.  The STP team includes our frequent collaborators Raimi + Associates, Nelson\Nygaard, Metroplitan Research + Economics, Crabtree Group, Gibson Transportation, and Meridian Consultants.

Town Green

At their regular meeting on December 8, the Palm Desert City Council unanimously approved the University Neighborhood Specific Plan, and its adoption became final on January 2017.

 The Plan area is part of the larger University District, in the northerly part of town adjacent to Interstate 10, adjacent to the growing Palm Desert branch campus of California State University at San Bernardino.  This area is one of two areas  - the other being the 111 Corridor/City Center in the southerly part of town - in which the newly adopted General Plan prioritizes transformational change to a walkable, mixed-use urban environment.  Most of the University Neighborhood area is currently vacant, except for some framework streets that were built to serve conventional suburban housing tracts that were not built due to the recession.  Those properties, along with 170 acre city-owned parcel, were replanned as a walkable, mixed-type traditional neighborhood and center, with a mix of housing types targeted to faculty, staff, students and older residents looking for an amenity-rich living environment.  The City will be issuing a request for proposals to developers in the coming months.

San Pablo Center

At their regular meeting of December 8, the Palm Desert City Council unanimously adopted the new General Plan and 111 Corridor/City Center Plan and Code.

 Beginning in early 2014, a consultant team led by Raimi + Associates with Sargent Town Planning leading the urban design work worked closely with City staff and General Plan Working Group to update their general plan based on the Envision Palm Desert strategic plan prepared the year before.  The new Plan anticipates conserving the existing suburban character and unique desert quality of most of the City, whlle transforming the old Highway 111 Corridor and surrounding City Center area to a more valuable, walkable, mixed-use district, and developing new walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods adjacent to the growing Palm Desert branch campus of Cal State San Bernardino to the north.  STP led the planning work for the 111 Corridor/City Center chapter of the General Plan and prepared new form-based zoning for that area.  The City has retained the firm to develop the final design for the San Pablo Corridor and expects to be underway with Phase 1 streetscape improvements within a year.

Workshop #2

At the second public workshop for Fontana's Downtown Area Plan, the STP team presented a proposed district framework structure, a series of suggestions for public realm improvements, and range of recommended infill development types.

 The core strategy recommended is to improve the underdeveloped area separating the civic center from the historic downtown retail core as a "Civic Park District" and restaurant row, which will act as a new "north anchor" for the retail district connecting existing assets and attracting new customers and visitors. A new mixed-use center focused on student housing was recommended for the Chaffee College/Metrolink Station area as a "south anchor" for the retail district, and a "Foothill Gateway" themed with Historic Route 66 imagery was recommended to draw visitors from that historic highway into Downtown.  These recommendations were met with a good deal of interest and a great deal of valuable input was received, which will now form the basis for a Draft Specific Plan that will be presented at Workshop #3 in early December.

Antelope Valley Hospital

Through a nationwide competitive selection process, Sargent Town Planning has been selected to work with the City of Lancaster and the Antelope Valley Healthcare District to prepare a master plan and development code for a 240 acre district in the center of Lancaster, California.

 For the past decade, the City has been systematically pursuing a strategy of reinvestment in its center, with a focus on complete, walkable, transit-servable, mixed-use places.  Successes to date include the remarkable revitalization of its downtown core and planning for transit-oriented development surrounding its commuter rail station area.  Just a half-mile to the west the Health District plan area - with well over 100 acres of vacant land surrounding the existing hospital - represents a rare opportunity to surround an existing healthcare facility with an urban district focused on community health and wellness.  

The plan will define a flexible framework for the expansion of the core healthcare campus, and for its integration into a surrounding mixed-use district that will include medical and health related uses, housing, support commercial, and civic spaces and facilities. Stakeholder engagement and conceptual design are underway, with a draft plan scheduled for public review by early 2017.  The STP team includes HGA Architecture for healthcare planning, HR&A for economic analysis and development strategy, Nelson/Nygaard and Stantec for transportation and infrastructure planning, Studio One Eleven for collaboration on infill types, and Meridian Consultants for environmental review.  

Sierra Avenue in Downtown Fontana

Over the past year Sargent Town Planning has been supporting the Stantec Urban Places Group in preparing the urban design framework for Fontana's general plan update.

Through the Fontana Forward stakeholder engagement and public workshop process, a series of priorities for the new general plan have been identified, and one of the goals with the broadest and deepest public support is the revitalization of the City's small underperforming downtown core.  STP - with support from Stantec, Kosmont Companies and Lisa Wise Consulting - is leading a Downtown Plan process to define a clear vision, market-based strategies, and vision-based development standards for attracting new investment to the City's well-located historic center.  Initially conceived as a Downtown Specific Plan, the Plan will be an Area Plan within the General Plan, and new zoning contained in the Zoning Code.  

Among the many untapped assets in Fontana's city center are a Metrolink commuter rail station, a civic center complex including City Hall and a major library, Chaffee College, a number of park and lovely historic buildings, and significant volumes of through traffic representing potential customers and residents.  Challenges include a fragmented street network, generally dilapidated streetscapes and buildings stock, and the lack of a core group of businesses to attract a diverse clientele. Additional downtown-specific stakeholder engagement and an initial visioning workshop are scheduled for the summer, with a draft plan expected by early 2017.

Hallock Neighborhood Center

At their annual awards dinner on April 23, the Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association announced that that the Santa Paula East Area One Specific Plan has received its 2016 Award of Excellence for a Comprehensive Plan - Small Jurisdication .

David Sargent was present to receive the award along with Harold Edwards, Limoneira CEO; Mike Penrod, Founding Partner of Parkstone Companies; Tony Locacciato, AICP, Partner, Meridian Consultants; Rob Talmadge of Jensen Design & Survey, and Martin Hernandez, Mayor of Santa Paula. Sargent and the Limoneira team began work on the 400 acre plan in 2006, receiving approval from 81% of Santa Paula voters in 2008 final annexation clearances 2015.  

In his acceptance remarks Harold Edwards, Limoneira's CEO said “Limoneira’s mission statement involves community development, and we are proud to continue our legacy of stewardship within the Santa Paula community.  Responsible community development involves building consensus across all constituencies within a community, and receiving this award from the Central Coast Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA) provides further validation of our success in connecting with the City of Santa Paula as well as the Santa Paula community on a project that benefits everyone.  We couldn’t be more proud of the partnership we have forged with the City of Santa Paula, Parkstone Companies, Meridian Consultants, Jensen Design & Survey and Sargent Town Planning to create the Santa Paula East Area project, now called The Harvest at Limoneira, and we are thrilled to take the next step towards realizing the buildout of this exciting project.  This project has involved years of thoughtful planning and the realization of all our work will now become evident as The Harvest at Limoneira is built."