Case Study: Bridgeport, CT
BFJ Planning has a long history working in the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 2000, in collaboration with Urbanomics, BFJ prepared a community needs assessment for Bridgeport's Lower East Side neighborhood. In 2006 BFJ assisted the City in preparing new zoning for Steele Point, a major waterfront redevelopment site. Then in 2007 BFJ was hired to lead a consultant team in preparing a new Master Plan for the city. The project included not only the preparation of the Master Plan itself but also an organizational review of Bridgeport's planning and zoning application process and the preparation of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the City.
Following the adoption of the Master Plan in 2008, BFJ worked with the City to update its Zoning Code to implement the recommendations of the Master Plan. Then in 2010, Bridgeport hired BFJ to prepare zoning for a Village District in the city's Black Rock neighborhood. As a follow-up to the Master Plan, BFJ worked with the City and neighborhood residents on a Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) Plan for Bridgeport's Reservoir Avenue neighborhood.
Preparation of Bridgeport's Master Plan was a partnership between the BFJ Planning team, city planners and Bridgeport's Planning and Zoning Commission. The Master Plan is Bridgeport's central planning document, balancing economic and social policies and reflecting public input gathered through an extensive community participation process. The guiding purpose of the plan is to capture economic development potential and enhance quality-of-life for city residents.
The plan describes an overall vision for Bridgeport's future that is centered around six major themes:
Downtown: The Catalyst for Improving the City's Image
Jobs: Expand Economic Opportunities and Attract 15,000 New Jobs by 2020
Neighborhoods: Foster Neighborhoods of Choice
Education: Quality and Choice to Attract Families
Infrastructure: A Foundation for the Future
Environment: A Greener Bridgeport
The recommendations of the Master Plan are currently being implemented by the City and its partners.
Immediately following the adoption of the Master Plan in 2008, BFJ began working with the City on a crucial first step in implementing the Plan- updating the zoning code. The Zoning Code Update addressed the following needs that were identified in the Master Plan:
Reduce the number of zoning districts in the City
Eliminate spot zoning
Introduce design controls
Strengthen review and approval procedures
Strengthen environmental protection
As part of this project, BFJ also prepared a user-friendly Zoning Handbook to serve as a companion to the code. The handbook provides an overview of the most significant changes found in the 2008 code revisions and explains the zones, districts, and major regulations that govern development in Bridgeport.
Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) Plan
BFJ is worked with the City of Bridgeport and neighborhood residents, business owners, and community stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for the Reservoir Avenue neighborhood revitalization zone (NRZ). The NRZ planning process is a collaborative effort between the City, BFJ, and the neighborhood to determine priorities and needs and develop an actionable plan to improve physical infrastructure and quality of life in the Reservoir Avenue neighborhood. Issues addressed in the plan ranged from improvements to streetscapes, open spaces, building facades, and property maintenance to programmatic changes addressing safety and health. Community input is central to the success of this project and BFJ has been working with the City on innovative approaches to public engagement