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Tag: Management Models

CMSC Webinar Recap: Parking Requirements – A Roundtable Discussion

CMSC Webinar

Webinar Summary

Parking, always a hot downtown topic gets even hotter with the parking requirements debate. Quickly you find that the debate is connected to housing, density, infrastructure, demographics, market position, and so much more.

Watch the recording of this dynamic roundtable discussion on parking requirements from three different perspectives: development, commercial retail, and municipal economic development.

Presentation Highlights

  • Development

    Parking requirements can make or break the performance of a development project. In addition to building and zoning codes, parking requirements directly affect development, determining if a project will even move beyond the pre-development phase.

    Parking requirements can hinder the developments of small developments and highly demanded middle housing. When planning for parking, developers often face challenges to accommodate parking requirements. In some cases, there is not sufficient land available to build surface parking and the cost of structured parking is rising – currently, as much as $48,000 per space. Shared parking agreements can increase parking availability. Banks and churches are just two examples of entities that usually have their own parking lots that may be open to a shared-parking agreement during their closed hours. The Towns of Groton and Stonington jointly commissioned a study to identify effective parking strategies to better manage and improve parking conditions for customers, visitors, employees and residents of Downtown Mystic. The shared parking strategy along with several other useful recommendations were made as a result of the study.

    View Downtown Mystic Parking Study Final Report

    Click here to read more about towns and cities across the country that have abolished parking minimums to promote development, including Bridgeport and Hartford here in Connecticut.

  • Commercial Retail

    Over the last 10 years, there has been an increased interest in downtown parking. Expectations of available parking varies from person to person and the purpose of their shopping trip. Some may prefer to park in a parking garage whereas others may be used to on-street metered parking. You may notice that some will complain about walking a few blocks after parking to a downtown business, however, have no issue walk a ¼ mile to the mall entrance from the parking lot through a sea of other parked cars. Overall, the experience of parking needs to be as pleasant and painless as possible to attract shoppers to downtown commercial retail businesses.

    Parking requirements and regulations also directly affect the attraction and retention of downtown businesses. Many businesses would not be able to open or operate without a variance around parking regulations. Businesses see risk when there is no sufficient or convenient parking available for customers but also for staff. Job seekers may choose to search in the suburbs where there is ample parking in a large plaza versus in a downtown where parking may not be ample or well managed.

    Many consider bike lanes as an essential feature to Main Street. However, the data is at best inconclusive when it comes to whether bike lanes help or hurt commercial retail businesses. Particularly in Connecticut, replacing available on-street parking with under-utilized bike lanes could be a net loss to downtown businesses.

    A thriving downtown has sufficient parking for those who visit, live, and work there. The parking experience can be improved with wayfinding signs, orientation maps, and proper management.

  • Municipal Economic Development

    Municipal economic developers engage in a balancing act when it comes to parking requirements and maintaining or improving the economic vitality of their community. They seek strategies to ensure that there is ample parking for everyone who enjoys the main street or downtown. Economic developers often work with other municipal departments such as planning and zoning to develop those strategies such as changing parking regulations to accommodate more outdoor dining. In fact, most businesses in downtown Fairfield have a variance currently in place.

    Volunteers in Fairfield, Connecticut performed an analysis of off-street parking. The time-lapse study included 10 shopping plazas and found that parking was on average utilized at only 36%. These under-utilized parking lots could be converted into several other uses, such greenspaces or food truck parks. In the future, a text-amendment to the current parking requirements will be considered to accommodate the findings of the study.

    View Town of Fairfield Off-Street Parking Analysis

  • Community Engagement

    Outdoor dining as a case study to remove parking requirements.

    During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many CT municipalities allowed for increased outdoor dining through an amendment to parking regulations. Before the pandemic, the Town of Fairfield allow for 150 square feet of outdoor dining without additional park required. During the pandemic, the Town increased the square footage allowed which in some cases was placed in available parking spaces. In turn, residents enjoyed the increased outdoor dining opportunities and businesses were able to stay afloat.

    Promotion of parking

    Parking should be promoted. Listing parking information online and clear signage near available parking help provide a better parking experience. When proposing changes to current parking regulations or the development of a new parking structure, the use of graphics, social media, and webinars are just a few ways to promote future plans. Plan and prepare parking in your community for early adopters and supporters rather than naysayers and laggards, they will follow once they see that Main Street is the place to be!


View the Recording


About Our Presenters

Mark Barnhart, Director of Community and Economic Development, Town of Fairfield

Michael Berne, Principal, MJB Consulting

Alyssa Kent, Senior Development Manager and Design Director, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners



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CMSC Webinar Recap: DOT & Downtown – An Update On CT’s Complete Streets & Other Programs

CMSC Webinar

Webinar Summary

Kimberly Lesay, Bureau Chief of Policy & Planning at the Connecticut Department of Transportation, provides a detailed overview of the latest updates to several federal and local DOT programs including Complete Streets, Community Connectivity Grant Program (CCGP), Transportation Rural Improvement Program (TRIP), and many more. Watch the recording and review the resources to learn more about funding opportunities for your downtown transportation projects!

Presentation Highlights

  • CTDOT’s Complete Streets Policy & Directive

    As of August 2023, Complete Streets has three new controlling design criteria:

    • Pedestrian facilities–includes sidewalks, shared use paths, or side paths on both sides of the roadway.
    • Bicycle facilities–includes paved outside shoulders, bike lanes, separated bike paths, or shared use paths on both sides of the roadway.
    • Transit provisions–includes crosswalks, shelters, benches, and other ways to make existing or proposed transit stops more accessible.

    Regarding Complete Streets project applications, CTDOT:

    • is the project proponent/ administers the project
    • is responsible for providing project funding (state or federally aid)
    • controls the affected infrastructure (State Highway)

    Design Exceptions: Design Exceptions may only be granted by the Chief Engineer, with reporting requirements to the Commissioner.

  • Overview of Discretionary Federal Grant Opportunities

    The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs for FY 2022 – FY 2026. Unlike the 2008 Recovery Act, IIJA is long-term, continuous investment in transportation infrastructure, not a “Shovel Ready” stimulus program. In Connecticut, there are $5.38 billion in formula-based funding over five years – a $1.62 billion increase over FAST Act. IIJA provides for over $100 billion in competitive grant opportunities between FY 2022 and FY 2026.

  • Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A)

    IIJA authorizes $6 billion over 5 years in Safe Streets grants. Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) is open to MPOs and Local Governments, not State DOTs.

    The grant program supports Vision Zero planning efforts, as well as capital projects to improve safety for all users.

    Eligible Activities:

    • Develop or update a comprehensive safety action plan
    • Conduct Planning Design and development activities in support of an Action Plan
    • Carry out projects ID’in an Action Plan
    • Demonstration Activities (Quick-Builds)

    Amendments to the latest SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity:

    • Upwardly revises the amount available to implement projects and strategies from $580 million to $780 million.
    • Clarifies that funding awards to applicants submitted after each deadline is contingent on remaining funds. Funds are available on a rolling “first-come, first-serve” basis.
    • Waives up to $200,000 in non-Federal match for applications from certain U.S. territories.
    • Removes the option for unsuccessful Implementation Grant applicants to apply for a Planning and Demonstration Grant. Implementation Grant applicants are encouraged to bundle requests for supplemental planning and demonstration activities into their Implementation Grant application.
    • Changes the deadline for technical questions to April 24 to answer any questions related to the amendment. Application deadlines remain the same.

      New SS4A application resources:

    • CTDOT Programs

    • Success Stories

      In partnership with Smart Growth America, the cities of Waterbury, Bristol, and Middletown of along with NVCOG and RiverCOG, completed the 2022-2023 Complete Streets Academy that included workshops, planning and building temporary street safety demonstration projects.

      View 2022-2023 Complete Streets Academy final report here.


    View the Recording


    About Our Presenter

    Kimberly Lesay, Bureau Chief of Policy & Planning at the Connecticut Department of Transportation



    Contact Info

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    Addressing Blight and Vacancy on Main Street Summit 2024: Fighting Blight with TIF

    Addressing Blight and Vacancy on Main Street Summit 2024: Fighting Blight with TIF

    Presentation Summary

    Tax Increment Financing (TIF) uses new/incremental real property tax revenue generated from new development and increased value to repay costs of the project or improvements to the TIF District.

    In this presentation, Michael Andreana, Attorney, Pullman & Comley, will discuss the ways that TIF revenues can be used to fight blight, requirements for establishing a TIF district, and the basic components of a Master TIF District Plan.

    Presentation Highlights


    What is Tax Increment Financing?


    View the Recording



    About Our Presenter

    Michael J. Andreana

    , Attorney at Pullman & Comley LLC

    Contact Info

    Website:

    View Downtown Resource Library

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    CMSC Webinar Recap: Funding Main Street Management – 3 Models

    CMSC Webinar

    Webinar Summary

    Sustainable funding for a main street management program is critical to achieve incremental progress in your downtown district. In this webinar, we’ll be covering three models to fund a main street management program: Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, and tax incremental financing (TIF) districts.

    Our three presenters will give a short overview of each type’s general structure and pros and cons to consider.

    Presentation Highlights


    Funding Model Comparisons

    Click here to find a comparison of the different funding model types. 


    View the Recording



    About Our Presenters

    • Jennifer E. Goldman

      Jennifer E Goldman LLC

    • Sandra Russo-Driska

      Coordinator of Middletown Downtown Business District

    • Michael J. Andreana

      , Attorney at Pullman & Comley LLC

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    Jennifer E Goldman LLC

    Jennifer E Goldman LLC

    The Gold Standard in Nonprofit Consulting

    Jenn helps nonprofit leaders learn new tools, set and achieve new goals, determine stronger methods of sustainability, and direct their organization onto a mission-driven path to success. She also helps facilitate difficult discussions between board members and staff, evaluate programs and events for effectiveness, and can help identify possible funding sources.

    Services

    Services include: Management consulting for strategic transformation. Mainly nonprofit organizations, especially Main Street programs and communities.

    Visit their website

    Contact

    Jennifer E. Goldman, President
    435 Lakeside Boulevard West
    Waterbury, CT 06708
    540.454.6511
    Jennifer@Resonance.us

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    O.2.2.2 Board Representation – Constituencies

    O.2.2.2 Board Representation – Constituencies

    Action

    Develop a board that is made up of individuals who represent different constituencies within your downtown district and the community at large.

    Note: “Board” refers to a Board of Directors of a non-profit or other legal entity, an Advisory Board, Committee, or Commission. 

    Why

    Different constituencies bring unique perspectives that will enrich your Board’s leadership of the district.

    How

    Recruit board members from different industries. Here is a sample of constituencies that typically are downtown stakeholders:

    • Property Owners
    • Business Owners
    • Economic Development
    • Business Council
    • Housing Authority
    • Local Banks or Financial Institutions
    • Realtors
    • Planning & Zoning
    • Historic Organizations
    • Library
    • Civic Orgs
    • Faith-based
    • K-12 School System
    • College System
    • Parks and Recreation
    • Tourism
    • Arts & Culture Organizations

    Resources

    Search Downtown Resource Library

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    O.2.2.1 Individual Board Representation

    O.2.2.1 Individual Board Representation

    Action

    Improve the diversity of board members.

    Why

    Organizational Board of Directors membership should be reflective of the community at large.  A diverse board can offer various community perspectives, ensure that culture and tradition is represented, and foster an inclusive environment.

    How

    The Board of Directors should enact a policy that encourages an inclusive environment while recruiting board representation from the community at large. 

    Resources

    Search Downtown Resource Library

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    O.2.1 Board Structure

    O.2.1 Board Structure

    Action

    Update by-laws and/or strengthen board structure. // Establish or strengthen formality of advisory board.

    Why

    The main functions of the board are to ensure the fiscal integrity of the organization and provide advocacy for the mission, vision and goals.  An established board of directors, sets organizational policy, demonstrates community support and stability, and provides a platform to garner support both in-kind and financial.

    How

    By-laws provide a template and organizational direction.  Researching already established by-laws from existing 501©3 organizations can provide guidance and examples.  Enlist the services of a legal firm or lawyer(s) versed in by-law preparation and filings.

    Resources

    Search Downtown Resource Library

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    P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337