City hosting open house to gain public input regarding the future of downtown Bishop

By: 
Terrance Vestal
Managing Editor

The residents of Bishop have a chance to provide input regarding not only how the downtown Bishop corridor could look but how it could be used and what infrastructure it could feature.
Bishop Economic Development Coordinator Elaine Kabala will be man¬ ning the pop-up studio space at 156 S. Main St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Friday with special 5 - 7 p.m. hours on Thursday, Nov. 19.
The city of Bishop has been developing concepts and alternatives for the Downtown Bishop Specific Plan and Mixed-Use Overlay Zone in order to revitalize the corridor as well as potentially
increase housing and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Kabala said in the course of different work¬ shops and meetings over the last few years, a mun¬ ber of issues continued to be voiced by residents regarding the downtown corridor. These included vacant buildings and empty businesses and the general appearance of the downtown area.
Kabala said the city was able to obtain two grants, including one through Caltrans Sustainable Communities Program, to look into the viability of modifying zoning so that the city
could allow for conversions to mixed use, such as commercial/residential.
Kabala said the idea is that zoning will be a little bit more flexible so that people can envision new uses for these buildings.
“Instead of just saying, ‘OK, now we’re going to allow residential downtown,’ we’re going to be doing the legwork and think about, what does this mean for parking and what does this mean for the height of buildings, how can we make this work right,” Kabala said.
By addressing these issues, the ideas develop from simple concepts to a specific plan for downtown that will look at things like, what do residents want downtown to look like and what are natural pedestrian
movements and how does the city make it more inviting to walk around downtown or cycle downtown what’s the infrastructure that’s needed to support that, Kabala said.
By getting feedback from residents this week, the city hopes to be able to develop not only the specific plan but public buy-in at the same time, she explained.
Placards at the open house touch on visions for the future as well as signage, housing, character, density and transportation. According to the consultants, the city of Bishop faces unique challenges and opportunities as its population is expected to grow as a result of the future airport expansion and the increased flexibility employees have to work remotely.
For more information, visit www.downtownbishopplan.com.

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