Development in the East Village
The Historic East Village, Inc.’s Economic Development and Design Committee, generated a set of guiding principles that were ultimately adopted by the Historic East Village board in regard to economic development, design and the quality of life in the East Village. The principles were committed to writing to inform work with the association’s membership, elected and appointed government officials, developers and others with a stake in the future of the East Village. The board and membership see the East Village as a community in which retail, entertainment, and residential interests can be harmonized so as to generate strong momentum for continued balanced growth. The guiding principles for present and future development in the East Village supported by the board and membership include:
- Walkability is a critical and defining feature of the East Village. The design concepts that promote walkability are empirically proven and well-documented. We will in general support initiatives and projects that are consistent with these concepts and oppose those that are not.
- Human scale is another feature we believe helps define the East Village and thus should be protected. By this we mean buildings and other structures should be kept within a scale that is comfortable for pedestrians.
- The vitality of an urban mixed-use neighborhood depends on providing residents and visitors with a range of transportation options. These include use of personal vehicles, taxis and ride-sharing, bicycles and walking. We advocate a coordinated strategy that enhances all of these options over time, rather than favoring some at the expense of others.
- We believe it is important to preserve the historic structures in the East Village, and in keeping with this we encourage and support adaptive reuse. At the same time, we recognize that the historic aspect of the East Village has become less critical as a defining element for the neighborhood. Going forward, for new buildings and other structures we favor progressive design. By this we mean design approaches that respect their context (contributing to a cohesive look for the neighborhood) but are not bound by rigid rules that aim to mimic the past.
- A well-developed infrastructure is essential to the continued growth of our neighborhood and we recognize the prohibitive cost that is often assigned to developers and business owners to improve our aged infrastructure. As a result, we are committed to partnering with elected and appointed officials and others in order to advance infrastructure-related initiatives and projects such as burying power lines, fiber optic installation, and upgrades to utility systems.
- Parking is of course one key infrastructure element. In this context, we advocate creative parking solutions and good communication to make the most of currently available parking. Going forward, we believe new developments should be self-sufficient in regard to parking. Developers should be responsible for designing ample parking and should work with the City to incorporate parking wayfinding into their plans.
- Several long-term vision and planning documents pertaining to the East Village were published over the past decade. These are valuable and should be consulted when new development is considered. However, we also recognize the city, the business environment and technology have changed dramatically since many of these plans were released. As a result, previous plans should not become “straight-jackets” to be taken literally. Instead it is important to update and expand plans as circumstances change. In this context, we encourage incorporation of nationally respected policy and design standards (e.g. Complete Streets) as the East Village continues to grow.
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