Visit Jackson Meadow once, and you will never forget the landscape: a sea of prairie surrounding cluster of handsome white homes with a wooded backdrop. The Jackson Meadow site is a 145 acre parcel of high ground in open meadows and wooded hills overlooking the St. Croix River Valley within Marine of St. Croix, Minnesota. Jackson Meadow is adjacent to spectacular amount of open land. Over 190 acres surrounding the clustered housing is protected forever from development through the design process using conservation easements established by the developers, the Village of Marine and the Minnesota Land Trust. Hence, residents of Jackson Meadow have their views an open spaces protected in perpetuity. The development team also gifted a 14 acre parcel of land directly north of the site of Marine for a public park. In addition, the site is adjacent to William O’Brien State Park, which offers approximately 2,000 acres of protected scenic land.
1. Trail Connection to Village of Marine
2. Village of Marine Park
4. Open Space
5. High Point
6. Open Agricultural Land
7. Green Play Spaces
9. Blue Heron Lane
10. Conservation Easement Land
11. The Hollow
Design & Planning Process
Two years prior to the design and development team’s involvement with Jackson Meadow, the same site was considered for a traditional automobile-oriented development with excessive roads and isolated, oversized residences. The strong will of Marine Citizens to maintain their small-town character ultimately led to legal proceedings and the end if the development plans. This prompted Marine to develop cluster housing codes for Planned Unit Developments (PUD), where 50 percent of any development is devoted to open space. Because the challenge of new residential development in the rural-urban fringe is to create places that preserve agricultural land and rural character, the PUD process allows parcels to be planned as a single unit rather than as individual lots. It also promotes flexibility in siting regulations and land restrictions. By embracing the cluster model, the Jackson Meadow development team sought to create an environmentally sensitive neighborhood that Marine would view as an extension of their own.
Next followed an extensive two-year design and planning process. The master planning and preliminary plat documents for the sustainable cluster development evolved from intensive public involvement through a community review process. The design team worked closely with citizen groups, the Marine Planning Commission, and City Council in over 40 planning meetings. Setbacks and lot sizes, roads widths, the pedestrian system, and the innovative septic and drainage system generated the greatest debate. After reviewing Marines development codes, the design and development team presented to the Planning Commission the specific restrictions that were not consistent with the historic character of Marine. They then rewrote codes for clustering with the PUD process, thereby allowing Jackson Meadow to be designed with reduced road widths, eliminated curb and gutter system, minimum setbacks, and more modest-sized residences. With the approval of the final plat for Jackson Meadow, Marine has emphatically planned for the majority of the remaining development rights within its boundaries, thus guaranteeing the preservation of their small-town identity.
The development team also fostered support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Office of Environmental Assistance, “The Hollow”, a 53- acre parcel of steep typography and upland prairie adjacent to Jackson Meadow, was purchased by Marine on St. Croix with a grant from the DNR and a donation from the developer. The OEA has funded a portion of the construction of the wetland systems and an observation deck with signs explaining the project’s sustainability, as well as printed materials.