Mixed zoning, downtown residences among suggestions for downtown improvements

Published: Monday, February 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM.

During a CRA workshop Thursday, consultant Jack Dorman, stressed the importance of establishing a downtown residential base, which will require a land use code change.

"We've got to have a downtown that doesn't close at 5 o'clock in the afternoon," he said. "There has to be residents and residences that don't close after sunset."

Florida A&M University officials have expressed concerns about the lack of affordable student housing, Mayor David Cadle said. Dorman said a zone change would allow student housing, such as apartments above downtown businesses.

Having a three-story downtown building with commercial on the first floor, offices on the second and residential on the third could "triple the rental potential, but right now we can't offer that," city planner Eric Davis said.

Board members expressed enthusiasm for the potential to realize many of their goals.

"I'm overwhelmed by your presentation, but in reality we can make it happen," board member Joe Blocker said.

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