February 1, 2010

After determining that a quorum was present, the City Council convened in a Work Session on Monday, February 1, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. in the Council Work Session Room at City Hall.

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NOTE:  A Work Session is used to explore matters of interest to one or more City Council Members or the City Manager for the purpose of giving staff direction into whether or not such matters should be placed on a future regular or special meeting of the Council for citizen input, City Council deliberation and formal City action.  At a Work Session, the City Council generally receives informal and preliminary reports and information from City staff, officials, members of City committees, and the individual or organization proposing council action, if invited by City Council or City Manager to participate in the session.  Participation by individuals and members of organizations invited to speak ceases when the Mayor announces the session is being closed to public input.  Although Work Sessions are public meetings, and citizens have a legal right to attend, they are not public hearings, so citizens are not allowed to participate in the session unless invited to do so by the Mayor.  Any citizen may supply to the City Council, prior to the beginning of the session, a written report regarding the citizen’s opinion on the matter being explored.  Should the Council direct the matter be placed on a regular meeting agenda, the staff will generally prepare a final report defining the proposed action, which will be made available to all citizens prior to the regular meeting at which citizen input is sought.  The purpose of this procedure is to allow citizens attending the regular meeting the opportunity to hear the views of their fellow citizens without having to attend two meetings.
1. Receive a report, hold a discussion, and give staff direction regarding the Downtown Implementation Plan.

Brian Lockley, Development Review Committee Administrator, presented an update on the progress of the Plan.  He reviewed the DTIP study boundaries, the project schedule, public involvement options, stakeholder interviews, downtown assessment findings, the Jacobs presentation, and recommendations from the Planning Department.  The boundaries indicated two study areas – one for the entire district and one for architectural design guidelines.  A timeline for the project schedule was also reviewed.


Public Involvement included many different interest groups involved in land uses, architecture, parks/open space, etc.  Staff met with businesses, businesses provided brochures to customers, posters were displayed, tent cards for restaurant tables were made available, and website information was available along with stakeholder interviews.  The Planning Department also hosted public meetings for discussion on the proposed project.


The downtown assessment looked at all different aspects of the downtown area such as solid waste, architecture, streets, and parking.


Rick Leisner, Jacobs, presented information on different components of the study and an update on those components.


In terms of public input, Jacobs held stakeholder interviews, attended the monthly Downtown Task Force meetings, conducted on-line stakeholder interviews and held public meetings.  Leisner reviewed the questions asked for the study and the preliminary responses. 


The Downtown Assessment Findings looked at existing land uses.  Leisner indicated that they would be using Quakertown Park in the percentages.  An examination of existing parking showed more private parking in the area as opposed to public parking. They also studied existing streets and linkages.


A discussion on traffic moving through the downtown area resulted in a suggestion to encourage “through” traffic to use Carroll or Bell.  Jacobs studied the existing pedestrian sidewalks and found a variety of different conditions with narrow sidewalks and no sidewalks in the top category. The existing solid waste procedures were reviewed with a plan developed to look at a series of options to screen and group the dumpsters. In terms of the downtown architecture, they found a significant number of quality buildings.  Parks and open spaces were looked at in terms of the edges of the parks and connectivity;


Council discussed the viability of having two areas in the plan and felt it might be better to include design standards in the entire area.


Council Member Heggins asked if the minority businesses and residents had been notified of the public meetings.


Lockley stated that they had notified all three Chambers of Commerce.  The Neighborhood Planner would be notifying all of the area groups.


Lockley stated that there was a concern regarding future development in the area and related parking.  The Development Code currently did not provide for developments in the Central Business District to provide any additional parking.  One recommendation was move forward to suspend that requirement of the Code which would remove developments in the downtown area from not providing parking.  Staff was recommending that section of the Code be removed.  At the end of the process, staff would bring forward parking ratios that would be adequate for all development in the downtown area.


Mayor Burroughs asked about an anticipated end date.


Lockley stated that it would be approximately April before it was completed.


Mayor Burroughs stated that the final report would have recommendations for parking only for property located in the area of the plan.  The entire Central Business District would be a much larger area than the study area.


Council Member Mulroy stated that staff would return with a study of the full area after completion of the downtown study.


Lockley suggested just looking at the study area at this time with the opportunity for variances at the Planning and Zoning Commission if a development was proposed outside the core area.  Following the completion of the study, the entire Central Business District could be incorporated.


Consensus of the Council was to remove the restrictions for all of the Central Business District which would include the area involved in the Downtown Implementation Plan area and then consider variances on a case by case basis, if needed.


With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.