Project Update, July 2024

Hello again, Addisonites! It’s time for another update on the Town’s Comprehensive Plan effort. The project team is in the final stages of strategy development in Phase 4, Organize, where we have been using a variety of qualitative and quantitative analysis, meetings, and engagement activities to craft strategies for land use, mobility, neighborhoods, and economic development that provide the framework for achieving the town’s vision of becoming a more walkable and connected community. Key activities and deliverables from the strategy development work are recapped below. In the months ahead, we’ll be focusing on building out the implementation program, which identifies broad recommendations and specific actions that the Town, residents, and partners will work together to execute in the coming years to make the vision a reality.

Baseline and Engagement Summary

Before strategies and recommendations for a path forward can be crafted, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of existing conditions. The project team utilized a combination of activities and tools over a six-month period to build this foundation. Efforts included robust data collection and analysis; community engagement activities (online and in-person); workshops with the Advisory Committee, P&Z, and City Council; interviews with residents, developers, and local business leaders; and refinement of information with staff. A document summarizing key takeaways from these efforts can be found here. This document is also a preview of how the final Comprehensive Plan document will be designed.

Market Position Report

The business and development environment is critical to Addison’s past, present, and future. As such, the consultant team has also focused on getting a solid understanding of Addison’s economic health, market drivers, and market position (current and future). Highlights from this work are included in the engagement summary, but the full Market Position Report document provides a deeper dive into this information and recommendations the team will be working to incorporate into the Comprehensive Plan.

Place Type and Spectrum of Change Maps

A critical element of providing a roadmap to guide future growth and development in the town is to describe the context and character of development that is expected, where different types of development could and should be located, and some general constraints on how fast or slow development or redevelopment is desired. The Place Type map and accompanying description narratives provides information on the location, context, and character of development. The Spectrum of Change map provides a baseline for where properties can be expected to remain in their current context (Preserve), undergo small changes to add uses or infill in an incremental manner (Enhance), or be developed/redeveloped in a more aggressive timeline or context (Develop/Redevelop). As the plan comes together, additional information on building typologies, streets, and parks and public spaces that support each Place Type and neighborhoods will be incorporated.

Exploring What a “Walkable City” is and How to Improve Walkability in Addison

Walkability is about much more than just taking recreational walks within a neighborhood – it’s about integrating more housing and commercial uses and types together within a short walk or bike ride, and improving the quality of options to get around by means other than a vehicle. Said another way, the pattern of development and the mobility system go hand in hand, and becoming more walkable requires improvements to the buildings, use mix, and design of roads, trails, and public transportation. Addison is ahead of most Texas communities in this regard, but there is still work to do to make Addison a place where people of any age are able to live, work, and play without a car, if they want or need to do so.

The team facilitated two meetings with the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) in May and a Community Meeting in June to help explain the various elements of walkability and get the community’s creative juices flowing for ways to achieve the envisioned future for Addison. The May 9th CPAC meeting covered the topic of housing in Addison with an activity related to various building typologies they would like to see throughout the Town. The May 30th CPAC meeting focused on improving connectivity within and between neighborhoods. The committee was asked to watch the 18 minute TED Talk Video “4 Ways to Make a City More Walkable” by Jeff Speck, one of the nation’s most prominent leaders in designing walkable cities. This video was followed by an activity which asked committee members to provide input on routes for biking and walking that they would like to take, but cannot due to various reasons. The recordings of these meetings can be found here.

The third community meeting was hosted on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 at the Addison Conference Center. This community meeting had a movie theme, and kicked off with a showing of the same TED Talk “4 Ways to Make a City More Walkable” video accompanied with popcorn for the audience. This set the foundation for showcasing the final vision story that was crafted with community input. Attendees were asked to vote on a scale of 1 to 5 for their support of the vision statement, and the result was an average of 4.6, indicating strong support from the majority. The remainder of the community meeting consisted of several activities where attendees provided their input on the proposed Place Type Map and appropriate building typologies, Spectrum of Change map, preliminary recommendations for the four components of the plan, and how to make their neighborhoods more complete. The video of this meeting can be found here.

Upcoming Activities

A joint workshop with the City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and CPAC will be taking place on July 11, 2024 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. In this workshop, the team will be summarizing the vision development process and results, introducing transformative development concepts for four strategic areas of Addison to be more walkable, and getting input on ideas for design elements and amenities for future consideration on representative sites for each concept.

In August, the team will be facilitating mobility and land use and development-centered focus groups to explore more detailed opportunities, obstacles, and resources related to implementing the strategic framework and transformative development details that support the established vision for Addison 2050. The design and drafting of the plan document will run from July through October, and the full draft will be introduced to the community for review and feedback in November.

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