BRADENTON — From idea to implementation, it’s time for residents of the city of Bradenton to put on paper what they’ve envisioned for the future of their greater downtown.
Starting Saturday, city leaders and residents will get a chance to help redesign areas of downtown using the principles of form-based code, which emphasizes the design of buildings as opposed to traditional land-use zoning.
The goal is to create a mixed-use downtown where people live, shop, work and play.
“The bottom line is we’ll make ordinary citizens into city planners,” said Tim Polk, the city’s director of planning and community development. “We want to make sure the public is fully engaged in this process.”
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The city and its planning consultants will hold a community kickoff presentation and hands-on design session from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 Barcarrota Blvd. It’s the start of a four-day process that will lay the groundwork for the city’s new form-based code.
Polk said he expects about 100 people to attend Saturday’s workshop. Many of the participants will be from neighborhood associations within the city’s three Community Redevelopment Areas, plus the adjacent areas of Point Pleasant and Old Manatee Village, the target spots for the new code.
The form-based code will apply the visions created in the 2007 Downtown by Design workshops.
The city hired three planning firms — Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning; Karin Murphy Planning; and Hall Planning and Engineering — at a cost of $200,000 to implement the new code.
Representatives from Dover, Kohl spent Thursday morning setting up tables of city maps for residents to dissect Saturday.
“This is writing the rules, what is essentially the law, that will produce that sense of spatial enclosure that they dreamt about in the vision plan,” said Andrew Georgiadis, the project leader from Dover, Kohl.
“This one is a coding exercise, so we’re going to be asking the citizen planners to actually get a sense of what it’s like to measure their city to find out the DNA of a piece of the city, then use that to create a portion of form-based code. This is getting into the science of coding. ... Why does a main street look different from a residential street? There are specific measurements behind that.”
Dover, Kohl has led planning projects in several other cities, including the waterfront area of Jupiter, Fla., a downtown master plan in Montgomery, Ala., and a post-Katrina revitalization in Ocean Springs, Miss.
The public is invited to stop by the auditorium from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday as the design team works on the form-based code, regulating plan and illustrations. The workshop will end with an open house from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, and the design team will unveil a draft of the code.
The designers will return to Bradenton on Nov. 3 to present a draft of the code, then take back suggestions from the community before seeking final council approval in the summer of 2011.
City planners and form-based code consultants will hold the following public events: Community kickoff and hands-on session — 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 Barcarrota Blvd. Open design studios — 1-7 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday at the auditorium. Open house — 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at the auditorium.