1) The goals and objectives for the University District are to provide land use recommendations for the planning area that serve as a framework for zoning and other land use decisions, to provide guidelines for the design of new development, and to inform capital improvement priorities. The University District’s first residency dates back to the early 1800s. The main existing goal of the district is to preserve history, and it is to include and upkeep the surrounding parks( Iuka, Tuttle, etc.). The future plans for the area are to focus on landscaping(buffering), implementing the idea of “floor area ratio”, and incorporating mixed-use development.
2) I feel that the land use goals and objectives are going to be a success to the University District in Columbus Ohio. The use of “floor area ratios” based on the size of the property and delegating a certain percentage of the land to leave as landscaping/green space. This will be a very beneficial concept used to preserve nature as more new construction and money pour into the city. I feel that Columbus is ahead of the curve so to speak in terms of preserving the city and the nature around it, and the implementation of these new plans will only benefit the city further. Finally, I feel that the University District will continue to prioritize preserving parks and natural settings while still accommodating to the heavy traffic in the area.
3) The recent developments in the University district are mostly in accordance with the guidelines set by the neighborhood plan, especially along High Street. A large focus of the plan was the development of high-density, mixed-use buildings along High, which can be seen in the construction of the new Target store, the new Chipotle, and the apartments above them. Another emphasis of the plan was to enhance the shopping experience for the pedestrian by providing several shops and on the ground level, with a focus on non-automobile related commercial establishments. Again, this is evident in the recent openings of several new stores on High. The new developments in the University District also reflect the building height guidelines, with the tallest buildings around campus on Lane and High. The plan does mention promoting both foot and bike traffic. In terms of foot traffic, several sidewalks in the University district remain heavily damaged. On the other hand, large parking structures aren’t very prevalent in the area (which is also specified in the plan), which discourages the use of cars in the neighborhood. Infrastructure for bikes appears to be lacking in this area. Although there are markings on many major roads for bike use, only Summit and 4th have barriered bike lanes for safe bike travel. Lastly, the plan notes a desire to make parks and open spaces heavily connected to the neighborhood and easy to access. The neighborhood parks along the Olentangy River are interconnected by the many trails along the river, which also encourages walking or biking over driving.
4) I believe the plan addresses the issues that are currently vibrant within the District. The focus on floor area ratios and using residency intensities as a driving factor to preserve greenery around the area. Also, they offered a plethora of recommendations in order to combat issues that may arise in the future regarding the territory. I think that their use of rezoning, variances, and council variances will dictate the ultimate success of the plan.
5) The first advice we have for the plan is not actually related to the content of the plan – but rather the format. While planning a city is often done by planners and other experienced and or educated individuals, it is without a doubt a community effort. These communities are typically made of a variety of people who work a variety of jobs and enjoy a variety of other activities. What they almost all have in common, however, is a lack of free time. Even when citizens do have free time, reading through and understanding an 88 page PDF can be tedious. Creating a robust and interactive website that includes timelines, graphics, links to ongoing projects, and more, would be a far more accessible way to present the plan to the community. This would likely bolster interest in the general progress of the city. The second change we would like to see in the plan is it lacks cohesion of a neighborhood. Most of the design guidelines heavily emphasize that businesses should not implement art, extensions, and dining that can be seen/interfere with other areas. While this is a good guideline to ensure businesses do not overextend into other plots, it fails to provide help on how to create good design — and more importantly how to unite several businesses in an area to create a single University District. Finally, the section on corner stores seems subpar. Mixed use areas are often beneficial, and once again the 4 guides provided simply say what not to do as opposed to promoting a healthier and better community. We would recommend going further in depth on how negative and positive impacts can be analyzed. For instance, a small produce grocer that provides fresh fruit to neighboring houses is a good, whereas a liquor store is less beneficial.