The goal of the University District is to make sure that the neighborhood improves through urban design and future land use. The University District is also a way that the community can be involved in the development of their area. The main goal of the University District plan is to guide the board on deciding if proposed changes are appropriate for the area. The University District Planning area is approximately 2.9 square miles. While the University District is a framework for plan proposals it cannot solve issues such as health care and public safety as these fall outside of the built and natural environment. The University District zone is currently subdivided into 12 sections such as OSU, Glen Echo, Old north Columbus, etc. This area has developed over the last 200 years in relation to the proximity and growth of the Ohio State University. Within these 12 neighborhoods there are 4 that are historic districts. These four has varied, stricter standards when it comes to renovating the properties within these districts. One current plan that the University District has implemented is A Plan for High Street: Creating a 21st Century Main Street (2002). This plans goal is to help improve the public realm and revitalize 19 High Street locations with focus on Gateway. This plan has improved the gateway area and allowed it to become a hotspot for daytime and evening attractions.
The land use goals presented by the University District Plan are reasonable and retain the value of urban space. The FAR of 1:1 is smart to have in the university district because the area can become over populated with the return of college students after the summer and maximum housing is necessary to hold Ohio States students. While the adjustments to FAR are smart the changes will require a Code Change which is something that can take a substantial amount of time. The minimization of parking is a good thing for those living within the University District and walking distance, but I worry that with such little parking people will be discouraged from visiting the area from farther away locations. The 5th goal about striving to be a sustainable community and utilizing green building practice is a great idea and will keep this area current and a clean place people want to be.
The recent development on the southeast corner of High St and Lane Ave is consistent with the land use goals of the new plan. A High-density apartments just went up with commercial space on the first level. This follows the projected use of the area and follows the height requirements too. The new plan encourages parking garages to be built and this building also has a parking garage built underneath the residential spaces on the first two stories.
The plan addresses the minimization of green space around campus. With the implementation of FAR the green space is accounted for on properties and is strongly encouraged for new developed sites. There are also areas of land that have remained unused for some time and this land plan will help to define those spaces, so development may start on them and the land will not be vacant longer.
One suggestion our group has is more focuses outlines of sidewalks within the Neighborhood Mixed Use area. This land use category does not touch on sidewalk requirements for the buildings and while there are codes that state it including it within the land proposal will help to make this topic less obscure. To properly encourage walking and biking adequate sidewalks and bike lanes are necessary to make pedestrians comfortable.