Walkability scores highly in wishes for Duluth business districts
One thing is clear from the city's series of community visioning meetings to gauge what people want their business districts to look like: People want these areas to be walkable, and they want buildings that have mixed uses, said Cindy Petkac, th...
One thing is clear from the city's series of community visioning meetings to gauge what people want their business districts to look like: People want these areas to be walkable, and they want buildings that have mixed uses, said Cindy Petkac, the city's land use supervisor, who is leading the effort to update the city's 51-year-old zoning ordinance.
For the past week, Petkac and city planner Kyle Deming have led sessions for West Duluth, Lakeside/Lester Park, London Road and Lincoln Park districts to gauge what people like and dislike in building types and street features for their neighborhoods.
The city's new unified development code will limit new construction and redevelopment to two or three building types -- out of a possible eight -- in each district. This new form-based code will include design guidelines, including style, height, window and door placements as well as traditional setback rules.
"The form-based code is a very detailed description of what you want to have happen in that area," Petkac said.
"We want new development to fit in with what's already there."
At Monday's session in the Harrison Community Center in Lincoln Park, about 20 people rated a series of buildings presented on slides, many of them from the neighborhood.
They liked the older, historical buildings with first-floor storefronts. They liked interesting architecture, inviting streetscapes with trees, wide sidewalks with benches and cafe tables and old-fashioned street lamps.
"Anything that wasn't a square box scored higher, any one with architectural details scored higher," Claudia Lundquist said of her ratings.
For Lincoln Park's West Superior Street business district, they didn't like buildings that were more than two stories high, nor those with plain, flat, windowless facades.
"Anything that took a block or looked institutional, I didn't like," said Lincoln Park resident Kerry Gauthier.
Resident Brad Clifford noted that businesses in those institutional-type buildings may be providing numerous jobs that the community needs.
The consensus was that those larger buildings would be more appropriate on Michigan Street or First Street than on West Superior Street where they would be too dominant.