Springfield delays creation of development district near MGM casino to broaden dialogue on improvements and concerns

SPRINGFIELD – A proposal to create a zoning district to encourage development near the MGM Springfield casino was tabled on Monday to allow city officials to consult more with landowners and other stakeholders.

City council has delayed a public hearing on the Main Street, Convention Center and Overlay Neighborhood project, as requested by the Office of Planning and Economic Development.

The neighborhood is intended “to encourage and facilitate the short-term redevelopment of priority sites that surround the convention center, casino and Casino Overlay District (existing),” the zoning proposal reads.

Timothy Sheehan, the city’s development director, said on Tuesday he expects the zoning district proposal to be ready for council consideration at its next hearings on February 22.

“By changing the underlying zoning of an area, you want to make sure you have the right balance – in terms of what you’re trying to encourage and ultimately make sure you’ve considered to the best of your ability. the unintended consequences associated with the change, ”Sheehan said.

A key issue is to make it very clear to the private sector what the city wants to see for development in the region, Sheehan said.

The neighborhood is generally bounded by Main, State, Court, Dwight, Willow and Union streets and Harrison Avenue.

The uses encouraged for the neighborhood, as defined in the proposal, include: ground floor retail supporting tourism and entertainment; restaurants, taverns, entertainment, entertainment venues and specialty attractions; multi-family dwellings; uses that support conventions / business meetings; office uses above the first floor; and mixed-use projects.

Such purposes are suggested for level 1 administrative reviews, rather than for city council approvals and special permits.

Other guidelines include a ban on the demolition of historic buildings unless it is considered an emergency or ordered by the court. The proposal encourages the reuse of older and dilapidated buildings.

Recent revisions include added flexibility for the location of doors and entrances, and the removal of specific sizes for glazed areas “to allow more flexibility with regard to future tenants,” an analysis from the planning department said. .

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