Gov. John deJongh Jr. signed an executive order this week endorsing a report called The Town’s Blueprint: A Vision and Code for Historic Charlotte Amalie, that advances a plan to revitalize the downtown, according to Government House.
The community-supported report also establishes guidelines based on form-based codes that use the physical form of buildings as the organizing zoning principle, the statement reads.
“The government of the Virgin Islands supports the efforts of the community-driven vision to preserve and restore the historic core of Charlotte Amalie as described in The Town’s Blueprint and wishes to enable and encourage redevelopment in accordance with its big ideas,” deJongh wrote in the executive order.
The Department of Public Works is concentrating on the enhancement of the town’s infrastructure, while the Department of Planning and Natural Resources is revising its zoning and subdivision codes, with input from the community to frame a vision of the town that showcases its unique cultural and historical characteristics, according to the statement.
A grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust issued to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands will fund a pilot project to demonstrate how a "public visioning process," and resulting form-based codes, could be used to benefit preservation efforts and lead to quality new development in the Virgin Islands, especially in the town of Charlotte Amalie.
The Driehaus Trust funding was used to contract Dover Kohl, a firm that drafts form based code zoning, to help create the plan. After the plan was printed and posted electronically, community workshops were held in March and November of 2011 to review the draft illustrations and concepts and gather additional feedback.
In December 2010, the Virgin Islands government invited the public to take part in a series of events, called “charrettes.” to establish a community vision for the future desired urban form of historic Charlotte Amalie. Residents, property owners, business owners, government staff and officials attended the presentations and design sessions.
The charrette process yielded several “big ideas” to guide development in the historic area, including plans to protect traditional building methods, transform the waterfront, connect pedestrian and transit networks and bring nightlife to the area.
The report was published in January.