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Open Space Residential Design (OSRD)
Case Study

Ipswich locus map Partridgeberry Place, Ipswich, MA

Partridgeberry Place is a new 20-lot subdivision of single-family homes on 40 acres in the Ipswich River watershed. The Ipswich is well documented as an endangered river with severe and chronic reductions in base flow and continuing pressure from new residential and commercial development. Partridgeberry Place groups or clusters twenty homes around a traditional New England wooded commons, bordering conservation land.

Designed by Randall Arendt, engineered by Meridian Associates of Beverly, and developed and built by The Martins Companie of Danvers, it is one of the first Open Space Residential Design projects to be built in Ipswich. The project preserves 74 percent (28 acres) as open space and uses Low Impact Development (LID) to demonstrate an innovative approach to stormwater management. The Martins Companies received a Demonstration Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to show the feasibility and benefit of combining a wide range of LID principles and techniques into a single development and to serve as a model for other developers and municipal officials. The main LID features were constructed by December 2006.

OSRD Site Design Process:

Partridgeberry Place features a wide range of OSRD principles and techniques incorporated into a compact OSRD site design with single-family homes clustered on .2-acres lots with small yards. Care was taken to minimize land disturbance and maintain valuable natural features, hydrology, and mature trees. Together the main subdivision roadway at 18 feet wide and shorter driveways reduce impervious roadway surfaces, which are associated with polluted stormwater runoff.

This environmentally sensitive design preserves the rural character of the surrounding area and incorporates the patterns and beauty of the existing woodlands and landscape, to recreate the feeling of an old fashioned New England neighborhood. Landscaping, lawns, and common areas will be managed by a neighborhood association. Located on a public road, Partridgeberry Place is entitled to all town services including snow plowing, waste removal, and recycling.

Partridgeberry plan
Original Randall Arendt design for Partridgeberry Place
Partridgeberry plan

Drawing provided by The Martins Companies

OSRD Subdivision plan for Partridgeberry Place.









LID Principles and Techniques:

Houses on street

Photo provided by Martins Companies

Closely spaced homes with shorter driveways.

Partridgeberry Place incorporates LID best management practices, including grass pavers for overflow parking areas; an open grass swale that drains to a central bioretention area; rain gardens on individual house lots; reduced lawn areas and use of native, drought-resistant vegetation for landscaping; and infiltration of roof runoff through drywells. A shared septic system facilitates smaller lot sizes while still allowing on-site recharge of groundwater.

Collectively, these LID techniques will store, allow evaporation, naturally filter, and detain runoff so rainfall can infiltrate on site, lessen heat island effects, and reduce energy use and drainage infrastructure costs and maintenance. The development was designed and engineered by Meridian Associates.

Rain Gardens are Natural Filters:

Rain garden front yard

Photo provided by Martins Companies.

Rain gardens are working landscaping features that filter rainfall.

Each home in Partridgeberry Place has a rain garden as part of its landscaping. Often slightly sunken, they are planted with flood and drought resistant species, often ones native to New England, and soil is mixed with lots of sand so that water drains through it quickly. These rain gardens demonstrate that a garden can be a sophisticated pollution-prevention device, aesthetically pleasing, and a means of replenishing local groundwater resources.

A large scale half-moon shaped rain garden adjacent to a detention pond on the site was designed by engineers to hold a specific amount of stormwater and allow on-site recharge of groundwater and reduce runoff pollution.

As part of the Demonstration Grant from DCR, the U.S. Geological Society (USGS) will monitor total runoff from the developed portion of Partridgeberry Place, relative to rainfall, and compare this to runoff percentages from a portion of a more conventionally developed subdivision on adjacent Hood Farm Road. Post construction monitoring will be conducted for approximately one year. The long range goal is for improvements to base flows in the Ipswich River.

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