North Texas Daily

Planning committee holds open house for community before proposal next month

Planning committee holds open house for community before proposal next month

Planning committee holds open house for community before proposal next month
November 21
11:05 2018

The Oak Gateway Planning Committee held an open house for citizens to learn about the proposal they are presenting to the planning and zoning council next month. Before the meeting with the council, the group wanted to get personal feedback from the community on their plans.

At the open house, citizens were able to study boards that explained all the plans the committee has come up with. Community members were able to write comments and talk directly to people who’ve worked on this project.

City Councilman Paul Meltzer, who will be voting on these proposals, attended the open house. He said the proposals make him feel very hopeful for the future of Denton.  

“I’m impressed with all the work that’s been done,” Meltzer said. “I think [the committee] have really combed through all the issues and weighed them carefully, and I’m glad the public is being brought back in the process. It kind of makes you feel excited about the possibilities for this area.”

The proposal focuses on making the areas surrounding UNT more social, accessible and aesthetically pleasing. The committee has spent the last year creating a plan that they hope will be the proper representation of what the community wants with a multitude of priorities like sidewalk continuity, a bike plan, parking and affordable housing,.

“I love the emphasis on bike and pedestrian access,” said Garret Remohr, who works with UNT Libraries information technology. “Right now, Bonnie Brae is already kind of a barrier for anything other than a car. So, I like the emphasize on an alternative modes of transportation rather than being a car centered town.”

Esther Rodriguez-Phelps, an attendee of the event, reviews one of the parking maps and writes out a comment regarding it. Isabel Anes

Dr. Patrice Lyke, chair of the committee, said they tried to work on “low hanging fruit that could make a big difference.” Major parts of the proposal are fixing gaps in sidewalks, redoing pedestrian scale lighting and implementing the bike plan, Lyke said.

The committee worked on delivering a large number of qualitative suggestions for the council to look over and choose from. One focus was finding simple solutions that can be easily executed. While there are ongoing debates on certain topics like commercial parking versus bike lanes, the group has come up with multiple solutions for the council to consider.

“We were really focused on finding simple solutions,” said Sean Jacobson, assistant planner for the planning department. “Many ideas were like ‘why aren’t we already doing that.’ It was just about having those conversations.”

The group wants to finish the plan development step before the year is over and began implementing the accepted plans immediately.

“My major concern is that it’s actually implemented,” said Karen DeVinney, managing editor at University Libraries UNT Press. “I hope there’s investments on the part of the city and that they take it seriously and follows through on it. This sort of thing gets done frequently and then it just disappears. I hope this time there’s implementation.”

The proposal at the open house was still a draft. Based on the comments received at the meeting,  the council could receive an adjusted proposal next month.

The final proposal will be posted online closer to the Dec. 12 Denton City Council meeting.

Featured Image: The maps located on the tables were meant for community members to leave comments on. A few popular comments consisted of making parking only on one side of certain streets. Isabel Anes

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Xavier Spurlock

Xavier Spurlock

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