Diane Cheatham at Urban Reserve in 2010.

If you aren’t sure what that means, no worries. You probably haven’t heard the term Woonerf unless you are in an architect/city planner-type. Or Dutch.

When we first wrote about the Woonerf-inspired planned development just southwest of Richland College, we had only a few details, but now the CEO of Urban Edge Developers offers a little more insight. That CEO, as we mentioned previously, is Diane Cheatham, founder of the renowned Urban Reserve neighborhood who lives there in this masterpiece featured on the 2015 Lake Highlands Women’s League home tour.

Her new unique neighborhood called Urban Commons, to be located off Forest Lane near I-635, was unanimously approved by the Dallas City Council Jan. 11.

Urban Commons, Cheatham says, will provide sustainable development and modern design at significantly lower price points than at Urban Reserve.

“Neighbors will live their values and connect with what they love: modern architecture, living green with access to the outdoors and to urban amenities,” she says.

Don’t get too excited about those prices; home in Urban Reserve can push the million dollar mark. These will run about $200,000-$600,000.

The project consists of 75 – 80 single family homes will be built by architect/builder teams in groups around landscaped common areas. Homes will be smaller, from 600 square feet to 2,800 square feet.

“Modern architecture and national green building standards will apply. A limited, carefully selected palette of materials will ensure cohesive design, low maintenance and durability. Expansive front porches on each residence will reinforce a sense of community and provide a proven eyes-on-the-street approach to security,” the developer notes.

She continues: “The 10-acre site will place a priority on the natural attributes of the property, through visual and spatial connects between the building clusters and the wooded environment of a creek and water branch that traverses the property. Outdoor amenities, including a pond and a walk path engage the existing nature through the plan. In contrast to the re-wilded creek, residences front on cultivated landscapes and professionally maintained commons areas that are connected to garages and parking by accent paving.

“Streets will incorporate Woonerf [ʋoːnɛrf] details; an urban planning strategy that creates shared streets where pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles travel together without traditional safety infrastructure to guide them. Urban Commons believes this is the first time a Woonerf is employed in a Dallas residential neighborhood.”

Like Urban Reserve, sustainable landscape will be a hallmark of the design:

There will be low HOA fees. Home owners may rent a 10-ft. x 25-foot garage with storage. Rental fees will significantly fund HOA expenses. Solar panels located on the slanted garage roofs will bank electricity that powers street lighting, irrigation and well pumps. Water will be harvested to maintain the landscape. Sizing the capacity of the constructed pond as an architectural amenity and watering source will minimize water consumption, and provide the water needed to irrigate the commons. The goal is net zero potable water use for landscape irrigation.”

Here’s the Advocate’s 2010 story about Cheatham and Urban Reserve.

The project’s design team includes Cheatham, master planner Robert Meckfessel, landscape architect Kevin Sloan, civil engineer consultant Dayton Macatee and Ed Murchison of Virginia Cook Realtors.

Pretty soon, a website should go live offering updates about the development, at urbancommons.live.