City to present plan for redevelopment along North Avenue
Grand Junction city officials hope a new plan will revitalize, enhance and encourage use of North Avenue as more than just a drive-through thoroughfare.
A zoning overlay is the tool they’re using as an incentive for property owners considering developing or redeveloping their land, and city planners will be looking for feedback about that tool during an open house Tuesday.
“It’s really to create a different environment, a different feel … and hopefully bring some vitality back,” said Dave Thornton, principal planner with the city.
The proposed zoning overlay district does not change existing zoning but rather sits on top of it as an option, Thornton said. For example, with the overlay, business owners are encouraged to build close to the street instead of farther way for “more of a visual environment,” he said.
This is part of the adopted 2007 and 2011 North Avenue corridor plans and gives property owners more choices to develop in a different manner, according to city officials.
“The idea is to create a more human-scale corridor,” Thornton said.
Some additional pieces include parking at the side or rear of buildings; signs up to 12 feet tall rather than high, towering ones; landscaping; benches; and wider sidewalks — all to create a safe and appealing pedestrian-, bike- and vehicle-friendly environment.
Thornton said this plan came from asking how the city could support North Avenue businesses and create something that is unique. As it stands now, the vacancy rate is nearly double that of other parts of the city.
“We would like input from property owners, business owners and the public on the proposed overlay district, along with any new ideas on what incentives would help spur redevelopment,” Thornton said.
Also, at the open house, the public can learn about the newly formed North Avenue Owners Association, find out general information about safe business access on arterial or major streets and understand what a new $1.19 million federal grant means for the corridor.
This grant will be used to design three miles of the corridor from First Street to 29 Road and to renovate the section between 12th and 23rd streets.
Officials expect to complete the design next year and begin construction in 2014.