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Cluster Model

Jackson Meadow implements a cluster-housing model, which allows for the preservation of over 70% of the site as open space. In its architecture and landscape architecture of the community design expresses simplicity.


In lieu of typical suburban streets, each neighborhood block shares a pedestrian way located between the fronts of houses. By recognizing that the shortest distance is the footpath, the plan connects Jackson to Marine by walkways, and a loop road links a series of neighborhoods and pedestrian corridors around a central green. Each pedestrian way connects directly to over five miles of walking and cross-country skiing trails. From these trails, residents of Jackson Meadow are within ten-minute walk to the local elementary school and Marine’s downtown village center. This new neighborhood encapsulates the importance of walking, sustainability and diversity, and designates the best land as open space for community interaction and recreation.

Typical vs Cluster

Jackson Meadow - Typical vs Cluster - Smitten Real Estate Group | Bill Smitten

Typical Development

11 Lots

Cluster Development

11 Lots

Ecology of the Cluster Model

The Density Transfer enabled the clustering of a greater number of houses on smaller than typical lots, thus maximizing the amount of preserved open land in Jackson Meadow. Density Transfer programs are typically used to further a wide variety of objectives, including protection of agricultural lands, the preservation of wildlife, and the control of development densities in areas with limited infrastructure or public service. The process involves the sales of one parcel’s development rights to the owner of another parcel, which allows more development on the second parcel while reducing or preventing development on the original parcel. Under such a program, development rights are severed from a lot designed for protection (sending area), and the severed rights are transferred to a lot in an area where additional development is permitted (receiving area). At Jackson Meadow, development rights were transferred from land designated as environmentally sensitive to the area where the housing has been clustered.


Conservation easements, legal agreements protecting specific protecting specified property from ever being developed, were placed on 170 acres of adjacent land. This includes “The Hollow”, a 53-acre parcel of steep topography, virgin upland prairie and habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species. All of these lands and their viewsheds will be forever preserved. Combined with over 100 acres of open space with Jackson Meadow, this new residential neighborhood is nestled within an abundance of scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities.


Along with these development tools, unique infrastructure was utilized in Jackson Meadow to promote a more ecologically sensitive residential development. Communal constructed wetlands, which remove up to 95 percent of pollutants from wastewater before it enters the infiltration area, are used in place of conventional individual septic systems (where only 40 to 50 percent of pollutants are removed prior to discharge). Stormwater runoff is reduced through narrower road widths, shorter driveways, and mown rather than paved pedestrian surfaces. In order to enhance the existing natural surroundings, the only plantings allowed at private residences in Jackson Meadow are native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.

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