For the Morrisville Town Center Plan (2007) and Morrisville Town Center Development Code (2010)
In 1852, Jeremiah Morse donated three acres of land to the North Carolina railroad for a depot and Morrisville was born. A small crossroads village for well over a hundred years, Morrisville’s population in the modern day has exploded, growing from a community of several hundred to nearly 15,000 in the last twenty-five years. Yet, despite its long history and expanding population, Morrisville lacks a recognizable town center.
To meet this need, the Town’s Planning & Zoning Board, with staff support from the Morrisville Planning Department led a year-long planning effort to develop a Town Center Plan. Together, they employed a variety of public involvement techniques to solicit creative ideas and build strong community support for the resulting plan. The Town’s history was a central theme in the planning process. The Town Center Plan approved by the Morrisville Town Council in January 2007, strives to honor and preserve elements of Morrisville’s rural past while creating walkable, mixed-use town center that features new amenities such as a Main Street commercial district, a cultural arts facility, public parks, and new housing opportunities. This will be accomplished through careful attention to promoting the preservation and continued use of historic structures by allowing a limited but expanded range of uses and offering design guidance for infill development. The end result was a plan that honors the heritage of longstanding residents while working to connect thousands of newcomers to their adopted home.
Among the more than twenty implementation projects identified in the Plan was the Town Center Development Code. The Town again used public involvement to maintain community participation and awareness of the importance of preserving Morrisville’s history. This included hosting a community workshop, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and a series of open houses to solicit input on the code. The Town Center Code approved by the Town Council in May 2010, establishes special standards for new development to protect the historic character of the Historic Crossroads Village District, with an entire section devoted to adaptive reuse of historic structures. The Code includes special density bonuses provided through a conditional rezoning process in return for “compensating benefits” including improvements or funding to help implement elements of the Town Center vision. The Code also contains a voluntary conservation overlay district for areas identified as desirable for open space and parks.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2010 Anthemion Award to the Town of Morrisville; Raybould Associates LLC; and Clarion Associates for the Morrisville Town Center Plan (2007) and Town Center Development Code (2010).