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|1.||Receive a report, hold a discussion, and give staff direction regarding the Downtown Implementation Plan.|
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.