developing comprehensive design & sustainabilty guidelines for the historic village center
The Village of Franklin, with its population of 3,000, presents a stark contrast to the built form of surrounding communities. While Franklin does not retain active agriculture, its larger residential lots, numerous woodlots, and historic Village Center provide it with a more rural feel than other suburbs in the area.
The essential characteristics of the Village Center consist primarily of the historic architectural and landscape features and include:
- An architectural heritage unique to Michigan and worthy of all efforts to ensure its preservation and maintenance
- Buildings set back from the road at varying distances in a pattern characteristic of the early settlement
- Front lawns, mature shrubs, and a magnificent tree canopy that enhance the environment of the Village Center
- The softness of definition between roadway, paths and yards due to the general absence of street curbs and paving lends an informality and comfortableness to the Village Center.
With its small size, rural feel, preservation ethic, and one of a kind Village Center, Franklin has the opportunity to not only enhance its Village Center with historically sensitive design and sustainability guidelines, but to develop leading edge green, or sustainable, community infrastructure as well. As indicated in the recent Design Charrette, protection and restoration of the Village Center’s natural environment and ecological functions, as well as the reduction of maintenance and operations costs of community infrastructure are high on the list of priorities.
Franklin’s Historic Village Center has a wealth of historic architecture and cultural resources that appeal to businesses and residents. In an effort to guide future enhancements, MSF is working to develop comprehensive Village Center Design & Sustainability Guidelines. An RFP will be issued in the near future to qualified consultants/planners, one of which will be chosen to complete the final manual. The finished piece will establish design parameters for use by residents, business owners, and developers. Overall, this project will provide a much-needed guide for ensuring future high-quality, historically appropriate and environmentally sustainable development.
The end result will be a user-friendly manual, which will include design objectives and guidelines, diagrams, photographs and other information necessary to clearly illustrate appropriate historically sensitive and environmentally sound design principles for buildings, storefronts, streetscapes pedestrian and vehicular circulation, lighting, landscapes, site plans and signage.
A digital file of the manual will be available to property owners and potential developers for use when constructing and/or improving their properties. The Village Planning Commission, the Historic District Commission, and MSF will use it for judging appropriate change. The completed Guidelines will be accessible via the Village and websites.
To view the RFP associated with the Design & Sustainability Guideline, click on this link.