Downtown Redevelopment

May 2010 - Posts

City Council wants more time to discuss details of Downtown Master Plan

downtown round rock at nightThe Round Rock City Council held a public hearing on the Downtown Master Plan on Thursday, May 13, but tabled the ordinance to approve the document, which will be an amendment to the General Plan.

Five people spoke during the public hearing. All support the Plan; some had specific concerns about a particular aspect of the Plan. Two speakers, who live on East Liberty, are concerned about an increase in neighborhood cut-through traffic if the City moves forward with the Round Rock Avenue-Liberty Avenue realignment (PDF). Another worried about increasing property values. One spoke of the opportunity to attract more Creative Class businesses, and one thanked the City Council for addressing his specific concern about creating more flexibility in the Plan so he can more easily add a room to his single family home in the future.

You can watch the presentation, public hearing and Council discussion on Round Rock Replay (click on Item 9B1).

After the public hearing, Mayor Alan McGraw asked City Councilmembers to identify specific concerns/issues they have regarding the Plan for City staff. Those concerns can be then addressed comprehensively at a joint work session with the Planning and Zoning Commission, scheduled for June 7. The City Council and P&Z were already scheduled to discuss the  General Plan 2010-2020 at that meeting. Now, they'll use the meeting time to discuss both plans.

Updated copies of Downtown Master Plan document are available

Updated copies of the Downtown Master Plan document can be found online here or at the Round Rock Library, 216 E. Main Street.

The Plan document now includes the changes detailed in the last post, regarding edits the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission made to the Plan. The document now also contains a letter from the City Council noting, essentially, the Plan is a guidebook, not a rule book, regarding future development downtown. The letter is in Chapter 1, preceding the Executive Summary on Page 1.

There is one other notable change to the document. At its meeting on May 5, the City Council directed staff to make one change to the recommendations regarding the Form Based Code. Previously, the Plan recommended that the Form Based Code, when adopted in the future, apply to properties when “a renovation or new construction is proposed such that the proposed square footage increase is 20 percent or more of the building footprint.” Because the Council wanted to provide additional flexibility to property owners wishing to add space to their homes, the trigger for the new code to apply is now 35 percent.

You comments are always welcome.

Round Rock City Council scheduled to vote May 13 on Downtown Master Plan

The Round Rock City Council is scheduled to make a first reading vote on May 13 to adopt the Downtown Master Plan. A public hearing will precede the vote. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 221 E. Main St.

The City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission held a joint work session on March 30 to discuss the Plan. The Councilmembers and Commissioners focused on clarifying the broad purposes of the Plan document, as well as evaluating the Catalytic Projects listed in Chapter 3.

The discussion resulted in the updated Mission, Aims, Principles and Strategies statements below. Much of the planning jargon has been removed, and a sharper focus is now on the economic goals of the Plan.

Mission
The goal of the Master Plan is to create a vibrant downtown that adds a thriving sector to Round Rock’s economy. The Plan aims to create an achievable design and policy strategy for an active town center featuring a mix of retail, dining, entertainment, residential and public spaces, in a walkable and historically sensitive environment.

Aims

  • Stimulate responsible and foresighted economic growth in downtown
  • Accentuate the area’s assets and build upon past planning efforts 
  • Present a cohesive vision and identity for the area
  • Describe place-making concepts to achieve an activated and attractive downtown
  • Provide strategies to implement the urban design concepts

Principles

  • Community input on design that respects the complex and unique characteristics within the Plan area 
  • Design of spaces and buildings that are inviting, encouraging people to stay for a while
  • Walkability and ease of mobility and accessibility
  • Respect for historic architecture
  • Respect for the original block network
  • Responsibility to the environment
  • Emphasis on enduring design and quality materials
  • Innovation to uncover new programs, policies, and designs

Strategies

  • Defining a series of walkable streets and connected neighborhoods that are differentiated from each other through streetscaping, building form, and program
  • Placing commercial/mixed use and multi-family buildings close to the street/sidewalk, creating an inviting  outdoor room 
  • Preserving and extending Round Rock’s historic district and building composition in terms of scale and architecture
  • Establishing compatibility among all modes of travel
  • Identifying and planning a series of greens / public spaces with adequate kid-friendly amenities
  • Incorporating sustainable urban design and building strategies

Chapter 3 changes

The following statement will be included at the end of the current text on Page 59, which introduces the Implementation Strategy for the Plan.

For each Plan Area, as described on Pages 30-36, the City will develop and maintain a dynamic “programming document” that will include the following types of information: 

  • A critical path timeline, with milestones
  • Zoning, infrastructure and public space needs
  • Potential sources of funding, including identification of anticipated timing
  • Summaries of input from developers regarding which public investments and other actions are likely to spur economic activity


Also, any sequence or timing references on Pages 60-61, which list the Catalytic Projects, will be removed. We will also add the following to the list of Catalytic Projects:

  • Sheppard Street streetscaping
  • City Hall plaza green space
  • Municipal Office Campus green space

We'd love to hear what you think about the edits and additions.