Painting the Big Planning Picture

By Anthony Weston,

On September’s “First Saturday”, the Planning, Design, and Development Circle offered a wide-ranging review of the ongoing planning work for Hart’s Mill for an enthusiastic group of 25 members at Hart’s Nest.  The village is taking shape, becoming a matrix of structures that will build and nourish community with each other and the land.   

We began by looking at the current Common House concept design.   At the heart of our community, we’re developing a design that is delightful as well as flexible, affordable, and practical.  We then walked through the evolving community “dream kitchen” layout where we envision preparing nourishing meals large and small, canning, fermenting, and producing all manner of deliciousness within. 

On to the residences.  After a review of the “building block” concept that underlies the adaptable layout of our homes, we looked at schematic designs for the four residential prototypes now planned.  We learned a few things from the survey of our members this spring and as a result are developing an economical 3-bedroom house as well as a 1-bedroom cottage with a suite attached.  We reviewed the 9 ways that these 4 structures can be combined to serve a wide variety of members and their housing needs.  This flexibility and adaptability is a hallmark of our village concept. 

There were quick reviews of other topics: Hope’s slideshow on the excavations for the Waste Water Treatment system (now completed) pursuant to permitting a suitably-sized “waste disposal” (ie. fertility recycling) system; the question of optimal community size; and the possibility of building the village in phases (Katy).

For the final hour we transitioned to the land for a guided tour of the village site plan (Anthony), refreshed by watermelon and accompanied by another three members who mostly engaged in parallel play (aka “childcare”) with the three young kids. (The score: Gaius 180+, bubbles 0).  Mapping the village plan to the land helps us feel that much closer to living there.

In the meeting and again in this blogpost I want to emphasize that most of the information we presented about residential design and the 9 Living Options within them is also posted RIGHT HERE on the HM website under the “Village Design” tab. We’ve updated those pages with the new plans and will continue to refresh them as they are consolidated. For one thing, look for Common House elevations soon! Which reminds me also to add that questions, reactions, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome as this work proceeds. Please speak to me or Katy or email us at and

Members of PDD include Katy Ansardi (Elected Representative), Hope Horton (Facilitator), Bob McCulley (our newest member), Jeffry Goodrum (on leave), and Anthony Weston (Operational Leader). Interested in becoming a member of PDD?  Contact Anthony:



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