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What is the Rezone Downtown Poughkeepsie Project?

The Rezone Downtown Poughkeepsie Project (Rezone Downtown Project) is a collaborative land-use planning initiative aimed at the revitalization of Poughkeepsie’s Central Business District (CBD). The City of Poughkeepsie is partnering with the Pace Land Use Law Center and Kevin Dwarka Land Use and Economic Consulting to update zoning regulations that govern the preservation, rehabilitation and development that occurs in Poughkeepsie’s Central Business District (CBD).

Similar to the Walkway-Gateway District and the Waterfront Transit Oriented Development District, a form-based code could be developed for Poughkeepsie’s Downtown, especially the Main Street corridor and surrounding Central Business District (CBD). The rezoning would enable high-density, mixed-used development and ensure that land in this area is redeveloped to its a highest and best use, maximizing not only the walkability of the CBD but also ensuring the greatest level of fiscal productivity.

Project Background

In 2014, the City of Poughkeepsie adopted the Poughkeepsie City Center Revitalization Plan (PCCRP), a conceptual plan prepared by Kevin Dwarka LLC with the support of Dyson Foundation. The PCCRP sought to capitalize on the area’s assets while redressing enduring concerns about building vacancy, crime, public safety, open space, and underutilization of land. In 2015, the PCCRP was followed by more advanced planning effort that culminated in the Main Street Economic Development Strategy (MSEDS), an implementation strategy prepared by Kevin Dwarka LLC in partnership with Land Use Law Center. Both the PCCRP and the MSEDS advanced the idea of implementing a form-based code in Poughkeepsie’s CBD in order to revitalize the heart of the City.

Why focus on the downtown?

Poughkeepsie’s Downtown offers a historic main street, government offices, excellent access to regional rail service, a mix of uses, and a walkable urban form. However, the area also suffers from disinvestment, high levels of vacancy, poor connectivity to other parts of the city, and a handful of other issues, some of which can be partially attributed to the fact that Poughkeepsie’s city-wide zoning code has not been updated since the late 1970s. The Rezone Downtown project specifically focuses on Poughkeepsie’s CBD, the economic heart of the Queen City, to ensure that targeted improvements will have far-reaching effects on the economic well-being of all Poughkeepsie residents.