Fri
Oct 16 2015
10:59:am

Smart Growth America has published their findings after meetings with various citizens, business owners, and government officials.

There is a summary report of Suggested Next Steps.

Excepts from the summary report:

With respect to the Alcoa West Plant site, mixed-use zoning has yet to be assigned for the proposed town center. At this time, Alcoa has only rezoned a portion of the site’s border along an arterial corridor as Planned Commercial Unit Development (PUD).

One of the most critical [drawbacks] is that the latest available public concept plans for the site are very general in nature and do not specifically designate an area for a compact mixed-use town center development,

Having a more detailed master plan that identifies a town center site, and other key development plan attributes, should
provide specific guidance for staff if a negotiated PUD approach is continued

It will also help Alcoa realize its ambitious goals for the site, rather than proceeding on a project-by-project basis
without any overarching vision.

We recommend, however, that instead of continuing to rely on a negotiated PUD, Alcoa seriously consider instituting a new zoning district for the 350-acre town center site.

In most communities with town center zones, code provisions include standards intended to ensure that projects include at least some minimum mix of nonresidential and residential uses as they are built out. The current Mixed Use District "E-3" does not address this issue.

A hallmark of town center zoning districts is increased density of residential development and intensity of commercial projects to help support transit and create a lively work and living atmosphere.

Town center and mixed-use zoning districts often contain building design standards intended to promote high-quality development, and streetscape characteristics that are conducive to the active pedestrian environment so important to the success of such districts.

Compatibility of new development in a town center area with existing residents and surrounding neighborhoods is also often a leading issue.

Alcoa and other communities that are exploring town center projects should also consider specific neighborhood compatibility and protection standards that go beyond the typical buffer and landscaping regulations that are suburban in nature (wide buffers with trees and shrubs).

Involving local citizens in the planning process helps ensure awareness of, and support for, the town center.

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