Development happens - why not be ready for it?
This is the mindset of the joint village and town Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, which contracted the assistance of urban design graduate students at Notre Dame to create a new plan for the town and village. The students met with town and village planning boards and officials in late September and held multiple public meetings to gather input from the community.
The students were in town the night of Saturday Dec. 11 to present the proposed plan - the process for which included putting the old, all text plan to maps. The "now and after" maps they drafted lined the walls of the district offices' meeting room.
"The fact is, there is going to be development," said committee member Bob Eggleston following the students' presentation. "As soon as [one developer comes] into town, freeze it. I've been here 30 years and I keep seeing that every five years ... we don't want any more development, but it will occur."
Cathy Dove, head of the committee, said one of their goals was to establish a "proactive vision" with regards to development.
"Because you're not going to stop change, so the idea is, let's have a plan," Dove said.
The proposed plan "encourages development, but in a sustainable way," said student presenter Jennifer Griffin. One goal was to encourage foot traffic in places other than Main Street.
"Right now when you come to this intersection you look down and see these parking lots and you're not sure if you're supposed to go down there or not," Griffin said, pointing to the intersection of Fennell and Jordan streets. The plan suggests trees be planted along Fennel and more buildings built close to the road, "providing this pleasant pedestrian experience that allows for more retail to be up against the street so it's kind of similar to the character and quality of [Main Street], which is what they really love - what the community really values," Griffin said.