Architects, engineers, developers and planners will soon spend a marathon weekend dreaming up ways to transform Parole from a congested area beset by suburban sprawl into an ideal place to live, work, shop,play and take a walk.
The round-the-clock brainstorming session, scheduled for Nov. 15-17 at the old Garfinkel's store in Annapolis Mall, will produce design proposals for the 2.2-square-mile suburb justwest of Annapolis.
Anne Arundel County and the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects are sponsoring the design effort to flesh out general land-use guidelines with specific plans and 3-D models.
Shep Tullier, the county's comprehensive planning administrator, said he expects six to eight volunteer design teams, each with up to five members, to work throughout the weekend.
The designs will then be analyzed and critiqued by a jury including County Executive Robert R. Neall, Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, architecture critics andland-use experts.
Jurors will weigh the merits of each design based on a range of criteria, such as architecture, land use, pedestrianaccess and traffic patterns.
"The task is to come up with an image, identity, vision for Parole," Tullier said. "What we would hope isto get more of a human scale."
To that end, design teams will strive to curb suburban sprawl while creating a community with plenty ofpedestrian walkways, housing for residents with varying income levels and places of employment.
In suggesting designs, teams will consider Parole's relationship and proximity to nearby Annapolis; possible alternatives to private automobile use, such as bus or rail service; and development's likely effect on the environment, particularly the Chesapeake Bay.
No single design will be chosen, but county planners will incorporate the best elements of different proposals while planning Parole's future.
As the design teams hash out their visions for the suburb, the county planning office will put the finishing touches on a draft plan spelling out general guidelines for land use and traffic.
The draft, based on recommendations of a 15-member advisory committee, should be completed within the next month, Tullier said.
Preliminary plans call for a tree-lined downtown in place ofParole Plaza that mixes stores, offices and residences; new shops and roads to serve existing commercial areas, and a new, open look for Annapolis Mall.
Last year, the County Council adopted a growth-control bill for Parole after months of debate over several proposals, including one that allowed 16-story buildings in the core. A developerhas since frozen a proposed project that would have included a 16-story tower.
The legislation called for an urban design concept planfrom the planning staff. The county hired consultant Bruce Galloway,an urban design specialist, and created the 15-member Parole Growth Management Committee.
The council's bill divided Parole into a core, a town center and a periphery, with the heaviest development concentrated in the core.
In the latest plans, county officials envision dense development in a segment of the core bounded by Route 2 on the east, Riva Road on the west, West Street on the north and Forest Drive on the south.