An important decision is about to be made concerning permittable use in the BD2 Mixed Commercial zone. If 100% residential is allowed to be built there, our ability to protect and grow diversity and equity in that important business zone is at stake. Losing ground floor commercial will have devastating effects on the ability of businesses to grow and thrive in a zone set aside for them by our predecessors. Ground floor commercial must be protected.
The city is changing rapidly as more restaurants and services fill the downtown core extending up Main Street to the BD2 zone. With the new construction of the Commons on the corner and Civic Park nearby, the intersection at 6th and Main will soon have an even greater prominence for our downtown. It is indeed the eastern gateway to our downtown business district.
As I read through the memorandum that the planners and city attorney put together to justify 100% residential, I see more evidence to support keeping ground floor commercial in the BD2 zone. Both sides of Main Street east of 6th currently have businesses – nine on the north and seven on the south. This makes this an extension of the business corridor that needs to be protected. Eliminating commercial on the north side will destroy this corridor permanently.
In the memorandum on page 11 paragraph 1, it states: “In the core area the intent was to avoid extending the designated street front along areas where there are significant residential uses…” There are few residential uses near this intersection. Conversely, designated street fronts should be reserved for areas where there are businesses on both sides of the street. It makes perfect sense to extend the line east on Main to include this part of the BD2 zone. There are a couple of areas in town where this extension would help clarify the code and eliminate the need to rewrite spot zoning for BD2 areas left behind.
Regarding the blue line identifying the designated street front on page 12, it states: “Council has the legislative discretion to alter the designated street front maps if it sees fit to do so.” This is a no-brainer. Please extend the line and save the eastern gateway to the downtown core for business on the ground floor. The businesses are already there, right across the street from each other. It’s by far the easiest way to clean up the confusion.
There is a special council meeting to vote on design standards in the BD2 zone this Thursday, April 21, at 5:15 p.m. The meeting is virtual online. Please show your support for the council as they seek to protect the downtown business district.