City officials discuss "Greater Downtown Plan"

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - On September 19th, 2011, a proposal was presented to revise the zone overlays downtown, and now the city is one step closer to making that proposal a realty.

"There are some properties that are out of alignment with what our view for the future is," said Diane Schwenke of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce.

"It's really just trying to set the course for new development that might occur within that area so that it will be consistent with what's already in place," said Kathy Portner, Neighborhood Services manager.

The Downtown Development Authority met with businesses and property owners that would be affected by a potential zoning change in order to get their input on the most recent drafted plan.

"The zoning overlay will help all of downtown," said business owner Gregg Palmer, "and hopefully it will stimulate some growth and some activity down here, which is what we'd all like to see."

Draft documents were made available to the public in July and the most recent revision was made in September. But there are still a couple of issues that are up in the air.

"There needs to be a balance whenever you impose additional requirements that may beautiify the landscape but also cause undue hardship on businesses," said Schwenke, "because that can actually drive business out of an area."

A couple of the items still in discussions include a proposal that would not require parking for new development in the Central Business District (CBD). The second objection is to a proposed standard of a minimum building height of two stories for new construction.

"The emphasis is to keep a vibrant, strong downtown, and we want to do whatever we can to make sure that happens," said Portner.

"It's a great way to manage the way in which you grow your community, rather than allowing haphazard growth to have some sort of a plan," said Palmer.

A final plan is schedule to be made in December or January.

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