Butterfield Common Residential Community

When the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust investigated a donated seven-acre parcel in the ski resort town of West Dover, it discovered the property contained steep slopes, wetlands, a public sewer easement, erodible soils, and was located adjacent to bear habitat and an impaired waterway.

Through thoughtful site design, Stevens & Associates was able to accommodate 40 units of affordable housing and a future community building on the parcel. The resulting Butterfield Common combines a 26-unit senior housing building with townhouses, duplexes, and a single-family home in a mixed-age residential community. The housing is organized in a compact pattern with ample open space, private yards, and community gathering space. In order to accommodate parking needs for this high density development, the basement uses steel framing to provide underground parking in the senior housing building, and is hidden in the rear of the residential units. The above-ground portions of the building are wood-framed with wood stud walls. S&A, working with architect Williams & Frehsee, designed all the framing members for the floor plan and roof, as well as all slot details, foundation walls, and other structural components.

Acquiring permits for this project presented a host of challenges. In addition to the Water and Wastewater and Stormwater permits, the project required a Conditional Use Determination for minor wetland impacts, as well as an Individual Erosion Control Permit to control runoff into the impaired Deerfield River.

During construction, an oversize sediment trap allowed only clean water to leave the site and a subsurface detention basin allows runoff to leave the site at pre-existing levels. Additionally, infiltrating dry swales treat stormwater before entering the detention basin.

Site development constraints were compounded by a series of local negotiations and compromises. First, the community water system required that the well be drilled off site in the Tannery Wildlife Refuge, which in turn allowed the owners of the refuge to require that only native plant materials and organic standards be used in the landscaping. The impaired waterway required the implementation of a stormwater sediment offset project. This was done through the repair of various roadside ditches prone to erosion within the watershed.

The community’s plan makes room for extensive stormwater treatment, and to accommodate the needs of the adjacent wildlife refuge, the project’s plantings consist solely of species native to Vermont. Stevens & Associates specified organic landscaping practices.

The Butterfield Common was recognized in 2007 by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Vermont (ACEC/VT) Grand Award.