By Nigel F. Maynard The 3,000-acre parcel of land where The Pinehills is located was begging not to be subdivided into cookie-cutter plots as had been done to many other areas in Plymouth. So it was not. "The site has unusual topography," says Tony Green, managing partner of Pinehills LLC. "It has high elevation to low, steep hills, and various kettle ponds created from glacial formation."

To maintain the natural landscape, the planners left 70 percent of the space open and maintained original trees and natural vegetation. They also allowed roads to follow the site's natural undulations. "Most people design on a grid and build flat roads so you can get more lots," Green says. "But we were allowed to build roads that follow the topography." The roads were also created at minimum widths--18, 20, and 22 feet wide--with no curbs or gutters. Paved and unpaved walking trails substitute for sidewalks.

Only 900 acres of the site are buildable, and lots will not be drawn until houses are plotted. The community will consist of clustered housing ranging from 1,551 to 4,500 square feet and a commercial and retail center.

Category: Site plan; Entrant/Developer: Pinehills LLC, Plymouth, Mass.; Land Planners: Pinehills LLC, Plymouth, and Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Mass.; Landscape Architect: Jordan Associates, Laconia, N.H., Hawk Design, Charlestown, Mass., and Pinehills LLC, Plymouth

Photo: David Korinek

Easy Street

Roads and pedestrian friendly public spaces are important elements in promoting a neighborly atmosphere. More specifically, narrow roads are allowed to follow the natural flow of the landscape, so they are the most effective. At The Pinehills, meandering roads without curbs or gutters are kept at minimum widths "to help create a sense of community," developer Tony Green says. Whereas the standard subdivision in Plymouth might have 36 to 40 feet of paved space, The Pinehills has 24 or less. "We wanted the roads to feel like they've been there a long time."

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