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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: North Carolina

Vermillion Project
Walkable, Beautiful and Smart
Outer Loop
Second Beltway Threatens Wetlands

Vermillion Project
Walkable, Beautiful and Smart

A neighborhood is, first and foremost, designed for people. With this kind of philosophy driving it, how can the Vermillion Project go wrong?

Smart and Beautiful: The Vermillion development near Huntersville, N.C., offers a smart-growth alternative to more suburban sprawl.

This development, located on 360 acres adjacent to downtown Huntersville, N.C., exemplifies the best of the smart-growth movement. It is designed around 13 principles of town planning, and will include public transportation, people-oriented architecture and mixed-use design.

Rather than force residents to drive everywhere, the Vermillion Project focuses on walking and biking. Perhaps most importantly, the developers recognize the importance of having a place to walk or bike to by integrating shops, jobs and other necessities within the community.

For those residents who need to commute, the project will offer shuttle-bus service to downtown Huntersville, or access to the nearby Anchor Mill project where an abandoned textile mill is being transformed into a vibrant neighborhood of its own, complete with shops, restaurants and a train station.

The project also makes the most of existing natural resources by integrating a one-and-a-half-mile greenway into the neighborhood plan. The backbone of this greenway is a small creek which the developers will leave untouched for residents to enjoy. The housing plans call for traditional touches like wide sidewalks and front porches.

Vermillion's goal is to be a community for people from all walks of life. Pending the completion of an agreement with Habitat for Humanity, the developers will also create more affordable housing.

Outer Loop
Second Beltway Threatens Wetlands

Anyone who believes Raleigh is learning from the mistakes of Atlanta's sprawl hasn't seen the construction of Raleigh's Outer Loop and northern Wake County's sprawling developments.

The 71-mile-long Outer Loop, the county's biggest road project ever, is currently projected to cost at least $1.2 billion. It will destroy acres of precious wetlands and the county's rural character, while encouraging more sprawling growth.

In the northern reaches of the loop, which is currently under construction, new developments are breaking ground in a big way. Wakefield Plantation exemplifies the new type of sprawl Raleigh is encouraging. The city fought to annex this huge development.

Now Raleigh is spending hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to extend water and sewer lines, build schools, widen and build roads, and provide government services. What's worse is that Raleigh's politicians in the mid-1990s approved the development and annexation without a master plan and with very little public discussion.

Most everyone in the area agrees that new developments are needed. But instead of more roads and more sprawl, the county needs to protect its open space, build better public transportation and create walkable communities with town centers. If Raleigh continues to encourage developments like Wakefield, Atlanta may soon lose its place as sprawl capital of the South.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments

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