The Lakewood City Council unanimously approved the Lakewood Downtown Plan at its Oct. 1, 2018 meeting.
It also adopted a Downtown Development Code and Planned Action Ordinance, which will govern future development in the city’s commercial core. The plan goes into effect Nov. 1, 2018.
So, what does this means? It means the stage is now set for the future redevelopment of Lakewood’s commercial districts – including the Lakewood Towne Center area, the Lakewood Colonial Plaza shopping area and the East Commercial District off 100th Street. As new development comes in, or redevelopment occurs, the plan will be used to guide how that looks, what types of uses are allowed and speed up development because much of the legwork is already done.
How will a new downtown look? Following a 2017 economic analysis of Lakewood’s downtown and the local area, the City Council directed the Downtown to be focused on meeting the daily needs of local residents. In terms of retail and services, this is the opportunity to provide:
- Daily goods and services, including groceries, personal care products, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
- Professional and healthcare services, including financial services, dental offices, and trend towards retail-based medical providers.
The plan approved this week reflects input from hundreds of Lakewood citizens of all ages and walks of life. It reflects both Lakewood’s unique past and also desire to create a Downtown that works for today’s and tomorrow’s residents, including incentivizing new types of housing and services within walking distance of each other.
The final Plan anticipates a new civic park, a new linear park, a new festival area, catalyst sites where growth will be encouraged first over the next 20 years, improvements to Gravelly Lake Drive and Bridgeport Way, converting Lakewood Towne Center Boulevard into a public street, and design standards for new buildings and parking that will preserve the Colonial District’s character as well as give the subarea a “facelift” over time.
The area in and around the Towne Center is envisioned as a magnet for intensive mixed-use urban development including higher density office and residential uses.
At the north end of the Plan area, the Colonial Center will serve as the hub of Lakewood’s cultural activity. Higher quality, denser urban redevelopment is expected within the District, noticeably increasing social, cultural, and commercial activity. Streetscape and other urban design improvements will make this area more accessible and inviting to pedestrians.
The Planned Action Ordinance will also make developing in the Downtown easier and faster for property owners and developers. It includes the required environmental analysis for the entire area, so when an individual application is submitted, the permit review will be streamlined. The Downtown Development Code is intended to be user friendly and allow for creativity while requiring the desired designs standards expressed by citizens.