Author Archives: Neil Takemoto

Bristol Rising Recap: January-February 2013

January 2013

In light of the recent Zoning Commission Hearings on Phase I, here’s a recap of the previous two months of submissions from Renaissance, including comments from various City Departments, amendments, resubmissions, and deliberations. 

  • Nov 2012: Renaissance submits Phase I Site Plans for review
  • Dec 2012: Renaissance receives first set of City department comments on site plan 
    • 82 comments received, examples of comments include items such as:
      • Extend sanitary sewer laterals onto property prior to branching off. Location of private sewer-line at right-of-way line is not recommended.
      • Clarify storm drainage within piazza. Install storm drainage in area of proposed berm along Riverside Ave. to prevent water runoff onto roadway.
      • Install blow-offs at end of each dead-end water line even if it’s only temporary.
  • Dec 2012: Renaissance Downtowns receives second round of City comments 
    • 50 comments received, examples of comments include items such as:
      • Clarify area of proposed pavement transition detail. Geotextile fabric not required on pavement patch within City right-of-way.
      • At the north end of the development, remove the “stop” signs and “stop” bars from the east-west through roadway, and add a “stop” sign and “stop” bar on Depot St. near its intersection with the through roadway.
      • Provide a four-foot concrete walkway to each Fire Department connection.
  • Dec 19, 2012: Renaissance Downtowns resubmits second round of plans
  • Dec 19, 2012: Renaissance Downtowns presents at first Zoning Commission Public Hearing 
  • Jan 2013: Renaissance Downtowns receives third round of City comments
    • 42 comments received (approx. 30 new), examples of comments include items such as:
      • Label (and/or provide legend for) walkways.
      • Clarify locations of proposed removable fence on Site Materials Plan (Sheet C-102) (locations along Riverside Ave. and Main St. are obscured by 10-ft. build-to line).
      • Suggest that more “reverse angle parking” signs be installed on Main St. (It appears that only one sign is proposed.)
  • Jan 9, 2013: Discussions of comments held at Second Public Hearing 
    • Largest Items that needed agreement for adjustment prior to 3rd public hearing included:
      • Fenestration issue with Main Street end of building A
        • Renaissance agrees to extend commercial use to train trestle
      • Width and use of 1 way drive aisles in Main St. permanent parking lot (RD used 1 way 22.25 feet and commission requesting 2 way 25 feet)
  • Feb 13, 2013: Public hearing scheduled for Phase I


Historical Recap
  • Oct 2011: Downtown Master Plan approved
  • Feb 2012: Downtown zoning amendments approved 
  • Apr 2012: Unified Downtown Development Project (UDDP) special permit approved
  • Nov 2012: Phase I Site Plan submission

February 2013

After a 90-minute discussion and strong verbal support from the crowdsourced placemaking community, Bristol Rising, the City of Bristol Zoning Commission unanimously approved Phase 1 on February 13, 2013. Several months of collaboration between City boards, the Zoning Commission, and Renaissance helped finalize the plan after its November 2 submission, just two and a half years after Renaissance Downtowns first won the RFP to develop the downtown site.

Renaissance Project Manager Ryan Porter detailed to the Commission what the next steps were after approval of the site plan. The next steps include:
– Staff level cleanup to receive stamped site plan
– Approval from Public Works Board
– Accelerate financing
– Seek construction permits
– Break ground, estimated end of Summer 2013

The Bristol Rising community celebrated at Barley Vine, an ale house and wine bar inspired by the Bristol Rising community itself, underscoring the importance of supporting new local businesses prior to residential development. To that end, the Bristol Rising community and Renaissance are developing the concept for a shared pop-up retail incubator to support entrepreneurs who aren’t quite ready to commit to a permanent retail space. Named by Risers as The Shops of Downtown, this one-month weekends-only venture will hopefully be a prototype for a permanent shared pop-up retail space, like MoDiv in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Huntington Station crowdsources their initial public destination vision

On December 17, 2012 the Source the Station crowdsourced placemaking community announced that they secured three feasibility study ideas that were determined by Huntington Station residents for the revitalization of downtown Huntington Station in Long Island, New York. The three ideas earned the designated threshold of “likes” during Source the Station’s Downtown Living and Public Destinations Campaigns. This campaign was interrupted by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, yet Huntington Station residents were resilient in their desire to see a revitalized community that reflects their shared values.

The Public Destination idea, “The Centre at Huntington Station” (representative image above), is described by author Kim Hawkins as, “A vibrant outdoor shopping, residential and entertainment center with a unique combination of specialty retail stores (including book store, accessories boutique, clothing, shoes, bank and etc.) exciting upscale diverse restaurants (Hispanic, Caribbean, Soul and etc) and amenities that include fitness (gym, dance studio and all American sports Restaurant), a central plaza with outdoor cafes and meeting areas, an ice-skating rink (November through March), and cultural outdoor events including summer concerts that provides a neighborhood gathering spot for residents.”  Kim’s idea is inspired by her visit to Pentagon Row in Arlington, VA.

The two Downtown Living ideas that secured feasibility studies were submitted by twenty-somethings who created the ideas out of discussions with their peers. Ashley Sutter proposed “Attainably-Priced Homes for Young People” saying, “I keep seeing a trend on Long Island – young 20 somethings are not able to afford the cost of housing. I think beautiful, affordable housing would be a wonderful idea.”References to Patchogue and artists lofts were suggested by others regarding what this idea could look like.  The second Downtown Living idea that earn to feasibility was “Apartments/Condos Over Storefronts”, which was created by Harry Burger. Harry described the ideas as, “This is a popular strategy to increase the supply of workforce housing while adding to and diversifying revenue streams for the land owner.  Who knows, maybe somebody can live right above where they work for the shortest commute ever! We very much need more rental apartments that young professionals like teachers, nurses, and engineers can afford to live in on a starting salary that aren’t illegal basements.

The feasibility studies will be completed and ready for review by the community by February 1, 2013. Source the Station will be looking for top Public Destination ideas over 75 “likes” to receive additional feasibility studies by the following dates: January 31, 2013, March 31, 2013 and May 31, 2013.

NY Times: You ‘Like’ It, They Build It

The proposal is being shaped in part by the opinions expressed on a social media Web site,, set up by Renaissance. Once people sign up to be members, they are given the opportunity to pitch ideas, vote for (or “like”) other ideas, and lobby other members for support of their own. Members are also invited to monthly meet-ups.