Downtown needs more development, more retail space, and certainly more parking, and changing the zoning on land on New Hampshire is a good place to start, a downtown official told city commissioners Tuesday.
"We're in the position of wanting it all," said Earl Reineman, president of Downtown Lawrence Inc. and owner of Weavers Department Store, 901 Mass. "Start the ball rolling."
Commissioners scheduled a study session for 4 p.m. Nov. 3 to discuss how the redevelopment should be handled through zoning.
Mayor John Nalbandian said he'd like to see more high-density residential development downtown, such as apartments or townhomes.
"We could ensure that there would be people downtown, and always be people downtown, day and night," he said.
Parking is a major concern, said Myles Schachter, an urban planner and owner of Connecting Point Computer Center, 813 Mass. By adding a new zoning district, similar to that for planned commercial developments, commissioners could allow for creative parking strategies, such as underground or rooftop lots.
All downtown businesses should help with adding parking within the footprint, which covers nine blocks bounded by Sixth, 11th, Vermont and Rhode Island streets, Schachter said.
The downtown development study was developed by a committee of five planning commissioners and approved by the entire Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.