Past Efforts (Phase One)
A significant amount of work has been done at the macro-level to better understand the community’s desires related to transportation options, land use, and the form that new development along North Main will take. The Multi-Modal Transportation Master Plan and the new Land Use and Development Code represent the biggest pieces of this on-going effort to ensure that our community maintains its status as a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing place to live, work, and play. Council has also undertaken an in-depth goal-setting process to direct the City organization’s efforts. Council Goal 4 states, “Envision Durango’s Sense of Place by creating character districts, promoting responsible land use planning, and maintaining the community’s sense of identity.” Council Goal 1, objective 3 states, “Promote Community Sustainability through Fiscal, Organizational, and Environmental Resiliency; Provide a safe environment and encourage responsible stewardship of natural and cultural resources.” This initiative is specifically designed to accomplish these goals.
In addition, the City has worked effectively with CDOT on highway projects in our community. All of these past efforts constitute a strong foundation upon which the more specific projects described below can build upon. Staff sees this past work as Phase One of this multi-phase process to create an integrated corridor-specific redevelopment plan.
Near-Term Initiatives (Phase Two)
In January, the City was notified that our request for technical assistance through the Sonoran Institute’s New Mobility West program had been accepted. This program has limited funding and is focused on transportation and mobility. It will serve as a great first phase and stepping stone towards achieving the all-encompassing redevelopment plan. The process undertaken through the New Mobility West program will be focused on transportation aspects of the corridor and improvements which can be done in the public realm. It will consider how redevelopment may impact transportation, but it will not have details about land use, design, or redevelopment of private property. More information about the Mobility Plan process can be found here.
In addition to the mobility planning effort, Community Development staff have been preparing for a Character Assessment to better understand the existing conditions and the land use aspects of the corridor that make it unique and/or inhibit redevelopment. This proposed Character Assessment will provide detailed information on the current state of this highly visible and busy, but aging, corridor. The focus will be on land uses, site characteristics, and the building stock. Staff has already begun analyzing County Assessor records and contacting business owners, specifically motel operators, to better understand how land and structures are currently used. Staff has also been approached by land owners and prospective buyers about possible redevelopment scenarios, so we have a good sense of the challenges to redevelopment in the area.
These two efforts, the North Main Mobility Plan (funded by New Mobility West) and the North Main Character Assessment (completed with existing staff and resources), will constitute Phase Two of the process and will form the basis for the third phase of North Main corridor planning.
Longer-Term Initiatives (Phase Three)
The Mobility Plan and the Character Assessment will set the stage for updated, focused policies and initiatives to encourage appropriate redevelopment, preserve the quality of adjacent residential neighborhoods, improve the function of the corridor, and generate interest in the area. The two documents will be designed to fit together seamlessly. Staff will use this information to launch a more involved and detailed public process about the community’s vision and desires for the future of the North Main corridor.
This pubic process will result in specific design and land use policies, strategies, and criteria, which can be incorporated into City standards to guide future development proposals. The public process will also help to create an identity for the corridor and could lead to district branding campaigns to create a sense of cohesiveness throughout the corridor. The results of the public process, policy proposals, and branding ideas will be combined with the Mobility Plan and Character Assessment to create a comprehensive North Main Corridor Redevelopment Plan.
This public process, visioning, and effort to integrate the transportation and land use elements of the process may require outside assistance from professionals with experience in integrated corridor planning and visualization of redevelopment scenarios. If such services are deemed necessary, staff will approach Council for a supplemental allocation to secure the necessary services.