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Orange plans charette on Route 3 future

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Orange County has selected Spectrum Growth Solutions to organize and run its upcoming planning session on the State Route 3 corridor.

As part of its process in planning for economic development in the county’s east end, the Route 3 Steering Committee—made up of representatives from the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority—intends to hold a charette early in 2014.

After considering several possible contractors to manage the project, Orange County chose Richmond-based Spectrum.

Faith McClintic, the principal at Spectrum, told the Steering Committee at its meeting last week that her goal “is helping communities that really want to advance their economic development initiatives to help make the right choices and define the correct steps for advancing those initiatives.”

“This is a very exciting thing that Orange County is doing, a very brave thing,” she said. “It won’t be without a few challenges, but you have obviously recognized the importance of undertaking this kind of initiative to preserving the well-being of your wonderful community.”

Spectrum will be gathering a team of experts to take part in the session. The team, McClintic said, will help ensure that whatever is developed here can be supported by the marketplace.

“You want to get it right the first time,” she said.

Current plans are to begin the charette March 2 and conclude it by March 4.

Dan McFarland:



A charette is a collaborative session of intense design and planning for solving a problem within a limited time frame, involving local knowledge, concerns and values coupled with outside expertise. In land use or urban planning, the stakeholders involved may include municipal officials, developers and residents, as well as experts.

The term evolved from a 19th-century French exercise in which architecture students were given a design problem to solve in an allotted time. Approaching their deadline, the students would rush their drawings from their studio to the school in the back of a cart (charrette, in French.) Sometimes the students would jump into the cart themselves to finish their drawings along the way, resulting in collaborative time-pressured solutions.