The City of Decatur finally unveiled its “to-do” list for the next 10 years last night at a Open House at the Holiday Inn Conference Center. The list is still in draft format, which means that resident input can still help modify and refine goals, but ultimately much of this list will end up as the city’s specific mission over the next 10 years.
That’s pretty darn important.
So while you’re obviously welcome to flip through the entire list of “tasks” HERE right now, I’m going to try to give a bit more exposure to the specific tasks proposed in the plan by featuring one goal and its associated tasks, once a day, until we’ve gotten through them all.
So, let’s just start from the beginning, shall we?
Goal 1: Retain and enhance the character of existing commercial districts and expand it to new districts
Walkable, human-scaled commercial districts in Downtown and Oakhurst are a hallmark of Decatur today. In the coming decade, as these areas grow and evolve, and as new commercial areas at east Decatur Station and the east lake Marta station emerge, they must do so in a manner that preserves and replicates their best aspects. this means ensuring that development occurs in a way that reinforces and expands the lively, pedestrian-friendly development patterns that make these places special, while respecting their context.
Task 1a: Refine citywide commercial design standards.
Design standards should be refined to support quality commercial and mixed-use growth. these should recognize the unique character and scale of Decatur’s neighborhoods, and avoid one-size-fits-all approaches. Updated standards for utility burial, architectural design, and parking should be explored as part of these refinements.
Task 1B: Adopt new sign ordinance requirements to encourage more compatible signage in commercial districts.
Task 1C: Update the Downtown Decatur Special Pedestrian area guidelines and expand the downtown streetscape program.
Existing guidelines have promoted a high quality of development on key streets downtown, but updates are now needed. Among the suggested changes are enhanced standards for the protection of historic storefronts, requirements for inter-parcel connectivity, and an expanded area. In addition, the downtown streetscape network should continue to be expanded.
Task 1D: Improve the appearance of Decatur’s commercial districts in ways that reinforce their roles as community focal points.
Upgrades could include pedestrian facilities, street furniture, trees, public spaces, or interactive kiosks with maps, visitor information, event schedules, and community information.
Task 1E: Improve the landscaping and physical appearance of the Square.
Task 1F: Install new waste and recycling bins that are more clearly distinct from each other and more aesthetically pleasing.
Task 1G: Rezone selected parcels to allow neighborhood-scale commercial nodes or legalize those that have been grandfathered.