Planning Principles

9 Principles Guiding Davidson

1. We must preserve Davidson’s character and sense of community.  

The essence of Davidson is that residents know their neighbors and interact with them in a variety of well-designed settings. This sense of    community is enhanced by:

    • Village-scale design;
    • A walkable and historic downtown and adjacent neighborhoods;
    • Walkable neighborhoods and centers with community open space and parks that are integral parts of town;
    • A street, sidewalk, and greenway network that knits the community together;
    • Engaging public spaces and celebrating historic resources throughout town;
    • Local businesses that invest in our community;
    • Community events that foster engagement of residents across neighborhoods and cultures;
    • Neighborhoods welcoming to all citizens;
    • Balancing rural character protection with new opportunities to create special places and neighborhoods.

2. We must preserve and enhance Davidson’s unique, historic downtown and neighborhoods.

The presence of our cherished historic downtown has always contributed to our residents' quality of life and is viewed as critical to                 maintaining our small town character. This valuable asset will remain viable if we:

    • Increase accessibility to downtown from surrounding neighborhoods and within downtown by making it easier to walk, bike, and park; 
    • Build upon its status as Davidson's social and civic center and create additional compelling public spaces to foster interaction among residents; 
    • Strengthen existing businesses by increasing customer accessibility; 
    • Preserve historic buildings and encourage stewardship of these unique resources; 
    • Encourage development of new businesses within vacant spaces to meet the needs and desires of a diverse community; 
    • Encourage a mix of uses in each building to create a vibrant and active downtown; 
    • Broaden the downtown area through design and redevelopment to better integrate North Main and South Main Streets and along the edge areas along Jackson and Depot Streets in a manner that also protects historic character along the corridors. 

3. We must provide a safe and efficient transportation network for all users, by supporting active transportation, transit, and new mobility options. 

The built environment can enhance the use of alternatives to the car and increase our physical health. We will make it preferable to do some of life’s activities without driving by:

    • Walkable, mixed-use, and connected neighborhoods; 
    • Commercial centers that support walking, bicycling, riding public transit, and using other alternative modes as viable and safe options to these destinations; 
    • New greenway, bike, and sidewalk connections to existing and new developments; 
    • Streets that are safe and accessible for all people - pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers; 
    • Opportunities to engage regional planning efforts, work with regional partners to educate residents about transportation options, and incentivize driving alternatives. 

4. We must wisely manage the finite land and natural resources in the town's planning area. 

The natural environment enhances our quality of life, both physically and socially. We will preserve this irreplaceable asset for future generations through:

    • Stewardship of our land and natural resources and preserving significant hardwood forests, farmland and farming, wildlife habitats, rock outcroppings, parkland, watersheds, and rural views; 
    • Growth that occurs in appropriate locations that are most suitable for development and away from important open spaces; 
    • Opportunities for public access to active and passive recreational amenities in our preserved open space; 
    • Development that uses green design, energy conservation, and flexible spaces; 
    • Village-scale development that builds up and not out in strategic locations; 
    • Tree canopy that is preserved, enhanced, and established as new development and redevelopment occurs.  

5. We must create an environment that maintains and enhances community diversity and inclusivity. 

Davidson will be a community where all persons feel welcome and are able to fully and safely participate in community life. We will encourage diversity of all economic levels, all races and ethnic groups, all ages, and all physical and mental abilities through:

    • A mixture of housing types and prices in neighborhoods that are designed to complement the existing architectural character; 
    • Affordable housing options and strategies to support new and existing residents; 
    • Opportunities for citizens to age in place by employing universal design and accessibility principles and providing supportive services; 
    • Economic opportunities for all income levels and all abilities; 
    • Cultural events that appeal to many cultures and social backgrounds and celebrate the diversity of Davidson's residents; 
    • Commercial and employment development that supports a diversity of socioeconomic backgrounds.  

6. We must manage growth and support appropriate economic development so the town can provide public facilities and services apace with development. 

Livability depends on the timely provision of transportation, schools, public safety, utilities, commercial life, spiritual life, and job opportunities. It is our intent that all parts of a vibrant, successful community grow together through:  

    • Decision-making based on the long-term goals of the comprehensive plan rather than a short term benefit; 
    • Establishment and maintenance of an adequate commercial tax base; 
    • A healthy diversity of uses in walkable neighborhoods; 
    • Alternative transportation options between destinations; 
    • Economic growth that supports our sense of community and placemaking; 
    • Partnerships with agencies and neighboring jurisdictions to efficiently provide services within the region. 

7. We must maintain the town's unique sense of place through quality architecture and design. 

Livable environments include well-designed buildings, a dynamic public realm, and seamless connections between the two. This means that:

    • The built form is an integral component of place-making; 
    • Private buildings and public infrastructure must work together to shape public space and to build community character, including through sustainable design practices; 
    • Davidson's cultural heritage and historic resources will be actively preserved and maintained; 
    • The design of our public spaces, parks, and plazas will encourage social interaction, cultural experiences, and recreational opportunities; 
    • Public art will animate our civic spaces. 

8. We must consider the town's fiscal health when making decisions. 

Community planning and capital investment decisions can have real and direct impacts on the town's fiscal health. The town's long-term quality of life is dependent upon having a balanced fiscal approach. This means that: 

    • Fiscal information will be used to inform decisions made about new developments and public investments; 
    • A balanced fiscal approach will take into account that not all community priorities will have net positive fiscal impacts; 
    • Spending priorities will be aligned with the current and projected needs of the community; 
    • Decision-making will encourage a fiscally-sustainable balance between the residential and commercial components of the town's tax base. 

9. We must support our institutional and nonprofit community partners that contribute to our quality of life. 

Davidson's quality of life is exceptional in part because of the many nonprofit organizations, places of worship, educational and institutional partners that are committed to improving the lives of residents. The town will support these organizations through: 

    • Planning policies and regulations that are developed in collaboration with community partners; 
    • Consideration of the impacts of community decisions on community partner organizations; 
    • Partnerships with organizations to support the advancement of community goals. 

Davidson is a livable and walkable community because we chose to rigorously manage growth and to require excellent design. To preserve our high quality of life as the town grows, and to ensure a sustainable future for generations, we must apply these planning principles fairly and comprehensively.