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Norton Commons is a 594-acre new urbanist development located in Prospect, Kentucky within the*Louisville*metro. It is a master planned community designed to be self contained and modeled after Seaside, Florida.*The boundries of the development is Interstate 71 to the south, Chamberlain Lane to the west and KY 1694 to the east.

Currently, Norton Commons features 500 homes and 40 businesses, and is designed to contain as many as 2,880 residences and 560,000 square-feet of commercial space, along with 150-acres of parks. The development is*named after the late George Norton, founder of WAVE-TV who purchased the Norton Common properties in 1938 for a farm.



The master plan, derived from the historic Olmsted Park neighborhoods, includes:

a. The Village Center, a mixed-use development with street-level retail, apartments and condominiums, offices, single family and detached houses, and carriage houses.
b. The Village General, consisting of single family detached homes and carriage houses. Multifamily units are allowed on the corners of streets.
c. The Village Edge, consisting of single family houses and some carriage houses.

Approximately a fourth of the land is dedicated to parks, squares, plazas, walking paths and civic amenities, designed by the firm of Sabak, Wilson & Lingo. The centerpiece of the park network is the Fountain of Meeting Street Park, which contains a 16-foot tall, 9.6-foot wide fountain constructed of cast iron. Other amenities include a the Jimson Square swimming pool, landscaped greenspace, Saint Mary Academy, Saint Bernadette Catholic Church, The Vanguard Academy and Worthington Fire Station No. 3.

Construction began in the fall of 2011 on a 40,000 square-foot, $13 million YMCA branch on 12 acres that will open in late 2012. In addition, Jefferson County Public Schools has an option to build adjacent to the YMCA prior to 2015.

I visited Norton Commons earlier in the spring, and was able to capture some of what was constructed and the expansion to the north and west. This is one of the largest development projects in the state of Kentucky at the time, in terms of residential units, and while the developers refer to this as "infill" between two existing subdivisions - it is an urban core built out to two two-lane rural routes on the fringe of the metro. While I do appreciate the high quality in construction, especially in regards to the customized houses and the replica storefronts and offices, it is very expensive, with lots fetching over $100,000 and homes selling for four to six times that with ease. It's not affordable for the middle- or lower-class.

I started out with the residences along Gerardia Lane.







Residences along Jimson Street.







A new residence along Civic Way.



Residences along Kings Crown Drive.





A Victorian corner residence at Gerardia Lane and Kings Crown Drive constructed by Lancaster Built Homes. Have $569,000 to spare?





A residence at Jimston Street and Gerardia Lane.



A residence at Featuerbell Boulevard and Jimson Pool Boulevard.



Looking westward along Featuerbell Boulevard.



Looking along Jimson Pool Street.



Residences along Hobblebush Lane.



Detail of residences along Meeting Street.









A corner residence at Meeting Street and Featherbell Boulevard.



Residences along Harlequin Street.





A residence at Norton Commons Boulevard and Jimson Street.







The Village Center is less complete but buildings are typically fronted with*appropriate*brick, up to the sidewalk, and a select few contain balconies and other ornamental elements. Give it a few decades and this will age gracefully. I started out with a view along Norton Commons Boulevard.





A corner storefront at Norton Commons Boulevard and Meeting Street.



Towne Plaza is an upcoming office and retail development along Norton Commons Boulevard.



A storefront along Meeting Street.



An unfinished corridor along Meeting Street.









While the quality of the development cannot be understated - it is one of the best examples of new urbanism in Kentucky, it is so far from Louisville's traditional urban core that any hope of calling Norton Commons a successful urban development is all but lost when it is surrounded by traditional suburban sprawl and ten-acre lots. Lots of these sizes can be had for*substantially cheaper in Louisville proper, and therefore houses can be constructed*substantially less when equating in the lot prices. Factoring in that many of these fine folks commute into Louisville or to a suburb, and it doesn't make much fiscal or environmental sense to continue to develop over farm and wooded topography when ample opportunity can be found further inside the metro.

More on Norton Commons can be found after the jump*»
 

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This development reminds me of the Village at Westclay in Carmel, Indiana. I love the fact that all the houses are different, but it's too bad these new urbanist communities are built in the burbs, surrounded by sprawl. Anyway, great pics. . . thanks for sharing!
 

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This development reminds me of the Village at Westclay in Carmel, Indiana. I love the fact that all the houses are different, but it's too bad these new urbanist communities are built in the burbs, surrounded by sprawl. Anyway, great pics. . . thanks for sharing!
Glenwood Park in Atlanta (http://glenwoodpark.com/) is right outside of central downtown...but there are several similar communties further out in the burbs around the city.
 

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Norton Commons was built to provide wealthy and upper middle class folks with an imitation Old Louisville or Highlands sans panhandlers, crime, and minorities. Elitist? Probably. At least its still within the city and not Oldham. What we can hope is that with the massive expansion of parks on the fringe of Jefferson County, this development could one decade become a catalyst for more intelligent growth around the park lands. I think with an imminent east end bridge, it wouldn't be a bad place for a denser satellite suburb in the future.
 

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Norton Commons was built to provide wealthy and upper middle class folks with an imitation Old Louisville or Highlands sans panhandlers, crime, and minorities. Elitist? Probably. At least its still within the city and not Oldham. What we can hope is that with the massive expansion of parks on the fringe of Jefferson County, this development could one decade become a catalyst for more intelligent growth around the park lands. I think with an imminent east end bridge, it wouldn't be a bad place for a denser satellite suburb in the future.
No matter where these new urbanist communities are located, they are a positive change from the uncontrolled sprawl of the past. I know a few people who live in various communities like this one...they love it and the neighborhoods are really beautiful.

Great photos...thanks!
 

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^^
Couldn't agree more. I only wish they were making more of an active effort to connect with and influence the existing rural communities nearby. They've literally left themselves a moat of farmland around the development. It is slated to be developed eventually, I think, but for at least another thirty years, it will remain an isolated town center serving no one but the Norton residents. The charming architecture and ambitious density can't be applauded enough... still, these developments are nothing but glorified gated communities.
 

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^^
Couldn't agree more. I only wish they were making more of an active effort to connect with and influence the existing rural communities nearby. They've literally left themselves a moat of farmland around the development. It is slated to be developed eventually, I think, but for at least another thirty years, it will remain an isolated town center serving no one but the Norton residents. The charming architecture and ambitious density can't be applauded enough... still, these developments are nothing but glorified gated communities.
True...but not all of them are the same. There are some that are very integrated with the surrounding area and a few that are even in an urban environment.
 

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Originally Posted by eweezerinc
Norton Commons was built to provide wealthy and upper middle class folks with an imitation Old Louisville or Highlands sans panhandlers, crime, and minorities. Elitist?
This is beyond elitist. To equate minorities with panhandlers and crime is disturbing yet common amongst the majority.
 

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This is beyond elitist. To equate minorities with panhandlers and crime is disturbing yet common amongst the majority.
Well...you have to consider that it's one person's opinion that Norton Commons was built for the reasons listed. That alone doesn't mean it's reality. :)

Additionally, I'm not sure he was equating minorities with panhandlers and crime (hopefully not), but just that he was stating them as his ideas for the reasoning behind the neighborhood.
 

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This is beyond elitist. To equate minorities with panhandlers and crime is disturbing yet common amongst the majority.
A list does not imply each item is equated to the next, nor am I saying it is a good reason to build such a development. I find diversity in neighborhoods to be a great thing. I am very aware of the reasons the developers have stated as to why they built Norton Commons, but I have my personal belief on what sort of market the developers and investors initially intended to target... and I have my personal belief on what those certain markets find to be "unattractive" when selecting a community in which to live.

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't articulate myself well in my initial post. As WeimieLvr pointed out, it is not true of all new urbanist developments, but I do find it to be at least partly true of Norton Commons and its current demographic.
 

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I am very aware of the reasons the developers have stated as to why they built Norton Commons, but I have my personal belief on what sort of market the developers and investors initially intended to target... and I have my personal belief on what those certain markets find to be "unattractive" when selecting a community in which to live.
I believe you are correct. I believe many of the gated communities are built for the reasons you mentioned. I also believe that type of thinking resulted in a minority teenager being killed in Florida because his killer perceived the unarmed victim as dangerous and threatening. Its sad to think we have a president who falls under the minority category yet this type of "elitist" thinking prevails.
 

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I believe you are correct. I believe many of the gated communities are built for the reasons you mentioned. I also believe that type of thinking resulted in a minority teenager being killed in Florida because his killer perceived the unarmed victim as dangerous and threatening. Its sad to think we have a president who falls under the minority category yet this type of "elitist" thinking prevails.
They may be built for those reasons, but I don't believe that those are the reasons people choose to live in them. I believe that (generally) people choose to live in these neighborhoods for economic reasons, specifically consistent property values. I also think they choose these neighborhoods for a perceived sense of safety from criminal elements. It's not usually specifically about race (of course some people are racist) but more about more about a desire to live among those of a similar income level. If that's elitist then I guess I'm elitist too because I choose to live around those who take care of their houses and yards - which often means at least a middle-class income level. I don't care about skin color.
 

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They may be built for those reasons, but I don't believe that those are the reasons people choose to live in them. I believe that (generally) people choose to live in these neighborhoods for economic reasons, specifically consistent property values. I also think they choose these neighborhoods for a perceived sense of safety from criminal elements. It's not usually specifically about race (of course some people are racist) but more about more about a desire to live among those of a similar income level. If that's elitist then I guess I'm elitist too because I choose to live around those who take care of their houses and yards
I agree; I'm sure Trayvon Martin's father lived in that neighborhood because he could afford it and also cared about his property values. Unfortunately, there is a common misperception that minorities don't care about those things. Minorities want to feel safe just like everyone else. There is no debate here. I am simply saying stereotypes get all of us in trouble. We need to be more aware of how we speak and think. Its wrong, regardless of desires, to state that minorities are more prone to be criminals and destroyers of property.
 

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I agree; I'm sure Trayvon Martin's father lived in that neighborhood because he could afford it and also cared about his property values. Unfortunately, there is a common misperception that minorities don't care about those things. Minorities want to feel safe just like everyone else. There is no debate here. I am simply saying stereotypes get all of us in trouble. We need to be more aware of how we speak and think. Its wrong, regardless of desires, to state that minorities are more prone to be criminals and destroyers of property.
Who said that minorities are more prone to be criminals? I don't remember reading that anywhere...I certainly didn't say it. :)
 

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Who said that minorities are more prone to be criminals? I don't remember reading that anywhere...I certainly didn't say it.
Originally Posted by eweezerinc
Norton Commons was built to provide wealthy and upper middle class folks with an imitation Old Louisville or Highlands sans panhandlers, crime, and minorities.
WeimieLvr
I never said you said this. The second quote was what I took issue with. Basically, the implication is this development was built to provide wealthy folks a neighborhood without panhandlers, crime and minorities. My point is why are minorities included in that group? As a minority individual, I can assure you I have no desire to live in a criminal environment or be hassled by panhandlers. Lets face it, it is ridiculous to stereotype minorities just as it is to label members of the majority as being rich and racist.
 

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WeimieLvr
I never said you said this. The second quote was what I took issue with. Basically, the implication is this development was built to provide wealthy folks a neighborhood without panhandlers, crime and minorities. My point is why are minorities included in that group? As a minority individual, I can assure you I have no desire to live in a criminal environment or be hassled by panhandlers. Lets face it, it is ridiculous to stereotype minorities just as it is to label members of the majority as being rich and racist.
Okay. :) But I think it was already established that the statement wasn't equating minorities with criminals, but simply listing them as possible reasons for building such a separated community. Some people probably do live in these places to be away from minorities (although minorities have the opportunity to live there as well), but I doubt that it's the most popular reason for living there. Anyway, I don't think the statement was intended to place minorites in the same category as criminals.
 

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But I think it was already established that the statement wasn't equating minorities with criminals, but simply listing them as possible reasons for building such a separated community. Some people probably do live in these places to be away from minorities (although minorities have the opportunity to live there as well), but I doubt that it's the most popular reason for living there. Anyway, I don't think the statement was intended to place minorites in the same category as criminals.
I have violated my own rule of never engaging in political discussions in these forums because they are endless. WeimieLvr, while I appreciate your honesty, its clear we are coming from two very different positions. I don't think the statement was intended to place minorities in the same category as criminals either.

Regardless of intention, thats exactly what happened. Clearly, as a member of the majority your response is sort of like, "whats the big deal?" As a member of a minority, I'm insulted because of the majority's perception of my culture. To be honest, I could care less if someone chooses to live there if it means they don't have to see people like myself. I just didn't like the implication that we should be in the same category as criminals. On that note, Happy 4th. (is that ironic or what?).
 

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I have violated my own rule of never engaging in political discussions in these forums because they are endless. WeimieLvr, while I appreciate your honesty, its clear we are coming from two very different positions. I don't think the statement was intended to place minorities in the same category as criminals either.

Regardless of intention, thats exactly what happened. Clearly, as a member of the majority your response is sort of like, "whats the big deal?" As a member of a minority, I'm insulted because of the majority's perception of my culture. To be honest, I could care less if someone chooses to live there if it means they don't have to see people like myself. I just didn't like the implication that we should be in the same category as criminals. On that note, Happy 4th. (is that ironic or what?).
Okay.:hug:
 
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