Thursday, June 14, 2012

NE Retirement Community Could Spring Up By 2013

The Public Service Board's master planned retirement community adjacent to Painted Dunes Golf Course may begin construction as soon as next year, according to a newly released Master Zoning Plan. The 427 acre development will be built in three phases, with Phase 1 starting in 2013. Construction on all phases should be complete by 2023, according to the plan's timeline.

The layout of the community will be a gently curving grid, with several pedestrian and bicycle paths following north-south and east-west streets. Higher density buildings will be located towards the center of the development creating a small town center which will be highlighted by a central park and a civic building that will serve as a visual landmark. Densities will decrease outward from this area, transitioning from apartments/condos to town homes and row houses to single-family homes towards the outer edges of the community. A row of senior apartment buildings will line the golf course.

Views of the mountains are considered especially important and used in the positioning of streets and green spaces. Special attention is also given to Community Form and Design, with the following expectations:
►The District theme has a vernacular aesthetic of El Paso desert southwest.
►The general form should be one of interconnected neighborhoods with traditional rectangular architectural forms; narrow streets and laid out in a grid pattern; and reduced yard space (reduced setbacks) that is balanced by more open space that is strategically placed and integrated into the District.
►Multiple residential product types per Neighborhood are encouraged, with traditional components such as porches and patios, portals/gateways and paths, vibrant color, and native building materials.
►Enhanced views to the Franklin Mountains and central communal space.
►Enhanced views of open space and green corridors for long views and for pedestrian circulation.
►Native landscape materials, with focused landscaping for impact.
►Native plant materials and irrigation systems favor reclaimed water, grey water, roof water, and surface stormwater, as appropriate and practicable.

Phase 1 includes areas closed to the golf course and US-54 and could result in 462 housing units and 200,000 square feet of non-residential indoor space, including civic buildings, community centers, and commercial uses (restaurant/retail). It is the largest of the three phases and also includes the majority of the highest densities.

The project would be the first retirement community in El Paso, an anomaly considering these communities are popular in most cities in the southwest. The City hopes to entice retirees, especially military, to choose El Paso as their retirement city.

The Master Zoning Plan will go before City Council on June 26, 2012 for approval.

City Council Agenda item (PDF):

PSB Readying NE Retirement Community Master Zoning Plan
Painted Dunes Retirement Community Plans Move Forward