A Small Town From Scratch

Developer Casey Roloff has built an ambitious new community on the Washington coast with New Urbanist ideas and a Northwest flavor.

"Seabrook, as Roloff explains it, resonates with people because it has expanded on the tricks of town building, aka new urbanism, pioneered with the creation of Seaside, Fla., in 1979.

Roloff made a pilgrimage there before he started Seabrook. He also employed Laurence Qamar, a Portland architect who studied under the architects who founded Seaside, as Seabrook's town planner. He also hired, as Seabrook's director of town development, Stephen Poulakos, a landscape architect who helped create the new urbanist community of Rosemary Beach, Fla.

Building Seabrook works like this: Rather than wipe the 88 acres clean, the town gets placed into its natural setting. Most lots kept some fir, pine or alder. No one has a lawn, but the small yards incorporate Oregon grape, Maidenhair fern, salal and other native plants. The homes, fences and benches incorporate untreated cedar, which gives Seabrook the appearance that it has existed for years.

The town layout, just as Qamar drew it, includes arcing streets and alleys. Homes have covered front porches pushed up to the sidewalks to encourage conversations between homeowners and passers-by. As you get farther from the town center, the sidewalks, curbs and gutters disappear, in favor of paths made of ground oyster shells from Willapa Bay."

Full Story: Seabrook's young visionary

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