Plans for big changes in downtown Dublin are moving ahead.
The Dublin City Council unanimously voted at its Tuesday meeting to approve four amendments to the downtown Dublin specific plan.
The changes incorporate the “preferred vision” the council approved last fall into the nearly decade-old downtown plan. Those concepts, developed with the help of a variety of experts, include building new streets and carving the existing street network of large blocks into smaller, more walkable blocks.
“The new street grid is key to providing a traditional downtown format,” Amy Million, a principal city planner with the city, said during a presentation before the vote. “This proposed amendment lays the foundation for future development patterns in this area.”
While there are no specific new street proposals yet, Million said approval of the amendments is an important first step in implementing the preferred vision.
It calls for turning a future extension of Golden Gate Drive — north from Dublin Boulevard up to Amador Valley Boulevard into a new main street — and adding three new north-south streets and three new east-west streets.
The downtown Dublin specific plan, which was adopted by the city in 2011, is divided into three districts, the Retail District, the Transit-Oriented District, and the Village Parkway District. Each of the three areas has a unique set of design standards and development guidelines.
The preferred vision builds upon the original vision outlined in the specific plan. It seeks to make improvements within the future Retail District over the next 30 to 50 years, with the goal of building a Town Square and surrounding development within the next five years.
In addition to adding the new street grid network to the downtown plan, the amendments approved July 21 also incorporate the Town Square, pools the maximum allowable retail square footage between the Retail District and Transit-Oriented District, and changes design standards and permissible uses within the Retail District.
The Town Square is a 1-acre park and plaza to serve as a central gathering space. The preferred vision located the Town Square a block north of Dublin Boulevard along the future extension of Golden Gate Drive. It will be designed to concentrate activity in areas with a variety of potential uses, such as outdoor dining, a farmers market, event space, outdoor yoga, entertainment, and concerts.
Dublin Mayor David Haubert lauded City Manager Linda Smith for her work on moving the plan forward, working with multiple property owners and for identifying funding to pay for the Town Square and related improvements.
“About three years ago is when we really took a hard stance,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress, and this is the step before, really, truly, sort of jumping off the cliff.”