City officials have now cleared the way for the future development of grocery and a variety of stores in its historic downtown and civic center.
The city council agreed to amend its development code to permit variety stores within the C1 and shopping center zoning designation and to allow grocery stores within the Euclid Avenue Overlay.
With its core downtown designated a historic landmark, city officials years ago adopted an overlay in the area which would protect the avenue as one of the city’s scenic resources.
Councilwoman Debra Dorst-Porada, who has in recent years championed the rebirth of the downtown, wanted to require a Conditional Use Permit, also known as CUP’s, for all grocery stores in the areas addressed.
“I’m very concerned about the Euclid Avenue development,” said councilwoman Dorst-Porada said.
But Planning director Jerry Blum assured the councilwoman that the amendments are designed to promote more businesses and bring in more revenues to the city.
The Planning Commission previously discussed the changes at two separate meetings. It was then that the commission raised their concerns with smaller variety stores.
“In their opinion, the smaller ones were less good operators than the larger ones and therefore instead of staff recommendation to allow all variety of stores, they elected to restrict the variety to a Conditional Use Permit if it was less than 10,000 square feet and permitted with 10,000 and over. They had no problem with grocery stores,” Blum said.
When it comes to grocery stores, they are already covered by existing code, Councilman Alan Wapner said.
“If we’re blessed enough to have a Traders Joe’s or one of those to come to the downtown then it’s just another hoop they are going to have to jump through,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t want to chance losing a quality store like that by having them to pay for CUP and wait the cup process.”
The amendments will have a bearing on future developments in the downtown including one project approved in 2011. At that time the council approved the development of a four-story apartment building which would encompass an entire block bordered by Euclid and Lemon avenues and C and D streets. The project will have 156 apartments.
The ground floor will have 33,000 square feet of retail space, which will be located along Euclid and wrap around to C Street.