The Norton Commons property, located 20 minutes from downtown in northeast Louisville, was purchased by the Norton family in the late 1930s. The family used the 600-acre site to demonstrate the latest farming techniques to local farmers via their television channel, WAVE. Today, a group of developers is collaborating with the family to demonstrate how the principles of the New Urbanism can be utilized to continue Louisville’s tradition of elegantly planned neighborhoods and parks, accommodating growth while avoiding sprawl.
Due to its proximity to the city’s outer bypass and Interstate 71, the property lies within the inevitable path of development and is in many ways already an infill project. Bordered by an established, older residential subdivision on one side and a new golf course development on the other, Norton Commons is well positioned to serve as a “common ground” that will balance the needs of its two neighbors and its future residents.
Norton Commons includes two villages in Jefferson County and a smaller hamlet in Oldham County. A large greenbelt envelops the villages and hamlet and provides ample green space for parks and recreation, including an existing equestrian operation and an elementary school. The first village features a full range of housing types, from single-family detached homes to apartments. Office buildings with ground-floor retail maintain their visibility from I-270 yet are carefully integrated into the village with architecture that is compatible to the surrounding residential fabric. A central square features a pavilion and restaurant surrounded by mixed-use buildings with ground-floor retail and live/work units.
DPZ and the developers worked closely with the Louisville/Jefferson County Planning Department to convince the department of the advantages of traditional, mixed-use development. As a result, a Planned Development (PD) district with a Village Option was approved in 1997, making TNDs like Norton Commons possible. The construction documents for the first phase of the South Village have been completed and approved by the county, and schematic designs for the first phase of the project have been submitted to the Town Architect for review. Construction began in February of 2004.