Fifteen years after the design of Seaside, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company was given the opportunity to return to the Florida Panhandle to create another new neighborhood on Scenic Highway 30-A. A New York-based investment fi rm had purchased a 52-acre property just seven miles east of Seaside, hoping to reproduce that project’s success. Given this objective, the clear mandate was to differ from that earlier model as little as possible. However, the opportunity to revisit the concept of the coastal resort town after fifteen years of experience allowed the design team to apply techniques that distinguish Rosemary Beach from Seaside in several fundamental ways. While both neighborhoods correspond fully with the principles of Traditional Neighborhood Design, these new developments establish Rosemary Beach as more than just another Seaside.
Since most residents of Seaside use their cars rarely, the plan of Rosemary Beach introduces a rear alley system so that cars can be parked in garages that are not visible from the street. About half of these garages are topped by granny flats, small apartments that can be rented out to help finance the construction of the main house. The presence of alleys also means that not every house needs street access at the front, allowing many of the smaller streets to be replaced by boardwalks. The wooden boardwalks, inspired by northern seaside towns like Fire Island, allow direct pedestrian to access the beach and bring the beach experience deep into the plan. Two public squares on the southern boundary further focus the neighborhood’s activity on the ocean.
The plan was completed in 1997 with the acquisition and design of an additional 53 acres to the north, turning Rosemary Beach into a traditionally-shaped mixed-use community centered on Highway 30-A. In contrast to Seaside’s Key West vernacular, the architecture of Rosemary Beach is based upon the Caribbean models found in St. Augustine and the Islands. Construction thus far has been of the highest quality.