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      City plans to alter Downtown Amarillo Urban Design Standards

      The city plans to update the Downtown Amarillo Urban Design Standards.

      In 1999 Center City Inc., drafted a document containing downtown design standards, in 2010 the Amarillo City Council approved a set of design standards to take full effect.

      City Planning Director Kelley Shaw said, the urban design standards are meant to encourage redevelopment in Downtown Amarillo. He said they're not meant to dictate design.

      "I also tried to make that clear in the meeting, the standards are focusing on creating or maintaining a urban character, a pedestrian friendly environment," Shaw said.

      According to Shaw some of the characteristics include, walkway improvements, street trees and better lighting.

      "What triggers those types of improvements is new construction," Shaw said.

      City planning is working with the city council members to update some of the language in the standards to keep up with the changes in the redevelopment of downtown. Melissa Dailey, executive director of Downtown Amarillo Inc., said the redevelopment of historical buildings is a priority.

      "We have to build up and do infield development and redevelopment on the building that we have," Dailey said. We actually have a large geographical downtown area, and so we need to focus on adapting downtown core."

      Shaw said another possible solution is to break up which standards apply to certain areas of downtown including, government, entertainment and office space.

      "The big picture is trying to encourage more development and redevelopment of businesses, retail and residential uses in the downtown area," Shaw said.