The lesser-known, but no less important Urban Design Commission passed changes to the Downtown Development Framework (DDF) Wednesday to clarify some parts of the framework.
Meant to give more detailed direction to development design in the urban core districts of Oklahoma City, the Downtown Development Framework (DDF) was adopted by the City Council September 2015 and has been in place long enough to show that some changes needed to be made for clarification.
Lisa Chronister, Principal Planner for the Current Planning and Urban Design division, made the presentation and explained where staff members are seeing confusion and sticking points.
From the staff report to the committee these bullet points are a summary of changes that staff recommended the UDC would make to the DDF.
General changes include:
•Reformatting (including font types and colors).
•Updating/correcting maps (including street names and existing conditions). •Adding thumbnail base maps to certain pages for orientation purposes.
•Updating page, figure, and chapter references.
Specific changes include:
•Updating certain typologies in the Development Typologies map.
•Deleting the Building Typology Compatibility Matrix.
•Deleting the Future Development Plan & Guide.
•Establishing Streetcar and Park Frontage Priority Areas.
•Updating certain streets in the Street Typology map.
•Re-organizing Section 4, Building Design.
See the full list of changes requested embedded at the end of this report.
Chronister explained to Free Press that the difference between the Urban Design Commission and the Downtown Design Review Committee is that the UDC deals with unique design needs of districts outside of downtown such as the Plaza District, Asian District, and Cottage District.
She said that because the districts beyond downtown have their own unique histories and are strong because each is unique, the UDC is oriented and skilled in different design considerations for each one.
“We don’t want to encourage everything to be the same,” Chronister told the commissioners.
The Cottage District is the area surrounding St. Anthony Hospital with a unique history and geography.
The UDC is the only part of city government that deals with design in that particular district.
The UDC passed a proposal for installation of a new mural at the Plaza District Plaza Walls by Kris Kanaly for David Wanzer and Pivot Project.
Designs for a new development replacing an existing building at 4319 N. Lincoln Boulevard were passed with a variance passing that would allow for the building to be shorter than the existing minimum building height requirement.
What the UDC does
The following is the description of the Urban Design Commission in City documents:
The Urban Design Commission reviews building permit and design applications and issues Certificates of Approval for projects in designated areas of the City. The nine-member Commission is comprised of two citizen members with demonstrated knowledge of the district, five citizens who own property or businesses subject to Urban Design review, and two citizens in the planning or land development profession who have background and experience in historic preservation. One of these citizens must be a registered architect. The Commission meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m. in the Council Chamber.
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