The Town of Mt Laurel is a 535-acre planned new-urbanist community developed by the EBSCO Development Company on a 5,800-acre tract on Double Oak Mountain in Shelby County between Dunnavant Valley Road and Shelby County Highway 43.
The general manager for the development is John O. Freeman, Sr. His son, John O. Freeman, Jr, is president of Town Builders, the primary contractor for the development. Rip Weaver is the landscape architect.
All property owners in Mt Laurel are bound by a "Design Code Book" and a "Covenants & Restrictions Manual" which codify the aesthetic appearance and permitted uses of property, respectively. Enforcement of those codes is the responsibility of the Mt Laurel Neighborhood Association Board.
Mt Laurel features a mixed-use retail development, two schools and two churches. The private Hilltop Montessori School is housed in a LEED-certified building. Mt Laurel School is an elementary school in the Shelby County School System.
The overall layout and design strategies for the development were laid out during a public charette in 1996. The event was led by Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company of Miami, Florida, noted proponents of "New Urbanism" and the planners of Seaside and numerous other traditionally-planned communities. An important source of inspiration for the architects involved were Birmingham's hilly residential suburbs developed in the early 20th century such as Highland Park, Redmont, Mountain Brook and Edgewood.
The original 460-acre development contained three neighborhoods, a town center which focused on dense, mixed use development; a middle neighborhood on the lower hillsides with medium-density housing and parks; and an upper neighborhood with estate-sized lots on more steeply-sloping land. The first phase of development was dedicated in 1998.
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