As the vision statement articulates, a vital mixed-use environment is the central theme of this plan. The greater the diversity the more likely the uses will complement and build upon one another. Currently there is no clear land use strategy for downtown Middletown. The area is zoned Central Business. The uses allowed in the B-1 zone vary greatly.
While this permissive zoning will help foster the mixed-use character which is central to this plan, in many cases the uses are not sufficiently directed.
This plan recognizes that Main Street is made up of three unique districts.
The districts include the north end neighborhood service district, the downtown retail core and the south end post redevelopment commercial district. It is essential that the land use strategy promote only appropriate uses in the districts.
Zoning should be revised accordingly to reflect these districts and the overall plan. In terms of land use, these districts must complement one another, and in order to do this, each must establish its own concentrated mix of similar uses.
Concentration is a key word.
Shopping districts along Main Street should be as compact as possible and have continuous retail frontage. This will encourage pedestrian traffic along the Main Street frontage and will facilitate both comparison-shopping and impulse buying. Service type establishments such as small restaurants, copy centers and support offices should be directed towards office/governmental complexes.
Equally important, there must be a captive population in the downtown. Therefore, the upper floors should be devoted to offices, small service businesses and distinctive residential units targeted towards young professionals and college students. The downtown residential neighborhoods should be reinforced and when appropriate, recreated. Intrusion of inappropriate businesses into these neighborhoods should be discouraged.