FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
About 100 residents had their first opportunity Feb. 23 to give their input on a city-wide housing study that could shape the future of how people live in Springfield.
The study will culminate with a written report in October this year with detailed recommendations and strategies for neighborhood revitalization.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure kicked off the event.
The meeting began with an overview of the housing study process and was followed by one-on-one interactions between the community members present and the consultants hired to conduct the housing study.
The next two public meetings will take place in June and the last will take place in September. The study is set to be completed by October this year.
The City hired Atlanta-based firm APD Urban Planning + Management to conduct the study, which will In part, assist Restore SGF, an initiative to restore houses and increase homeownership in Springfield.
According to project manager Deborah Jensen, APD specializes specifically in housing neighborhoods. She went on to point to their work in cities with highly historic neighborhoods that require preservation, such as a study they conducted in Augusta, Georgia where their historic neighborhoods were in "extremely distressed" conditions.
APD is currently in the data collection phase of its Springfield study which includes researching previous plans and studies, and a windshield survey.
The windshield survey consists of a parcel-by-parcel analysis that looks at the use of the land, building condition, and whether a building is occupied. It will also include a count of all housing units in the city and in specific areas. Much of this data the team is collecting manually by driving through each neighborhood in a vehicle with a 360-degree camera, allowing the planners to have very specific and up-to-date data across the city.
Once data is collected, APD will assess various metrics like the residential market, the zoning and development capacity in different areas of the city and the level of displacement risks.
APD will ultimately provide recommendations on how the City can improve its housing metrics through policy changes. Zoning code recommendations could include rules on what type of housing can be built, parking requirements, minimum lot sizes and density restrictions.
Data analysis will continue between now and June. The consultant team will present their analysis of Springfield's current housing in the June community meeting, which will then inform what implementation recommendations APD makes to the City.