Alex Doyle puts away cycling items Tuesday at Republic Cycles at the Base- Mar Shopping Center. City council at its meeting Tuesday advanced an ordinance that would require ground-floor retail in shopping centers. The ordinance will be up for third reading on Jan. 15. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)
Council on Tuesday also discussed a moratorium on projects that would add office space in the city’s opportunity zone. That discussion was still ongoing as of press time, but read about it now online at dailycamera.com and in Thursday’s paper.
City Council on Tuesday honed in on Boulder’s big shopping centers in its push to preserve retail space, advancing an ordinance to require ground-floor retail, as officials strived for balance in preventing redevelopment with a need for long-term planning.
Many proposals were on the table for how to get a good mix of retail in business/commercial zoning districts, including requiring a certain percentage of space be saved for “neighborhood-serving” businesses, and separate sets of requirements for sites based on size. The problem, staff said, is that some of the proposals delved into more long-term planning territory, including ongoing work about community benefit and changes to what uses — housing office, etc. — are allowed in each zone.
Also at issue are several smaller properties that are in business/commercial zones but aren’t predominantly retail used by neighborhoods. Requiring first-floor retail would not necessarily make sense for those, senior planner Karl Guiler said.
“We want to make sure we’re not producing any unintended consequences by making a quick change,” he said.
After much discussion, council determined that large shopping centers — Table Mesa, Base-Mar, Meadows, etc. — would be called out specifically in the ordinance, which goes to third reading Jan. 15. Longer term, rezoning is likely, carving out specific designations for areas vital to neighborhoods, versus some of the smaller properties also included in business/commercial zones.
The flexibility is good, said Andrea Meneghel, speaking during the public hearing on behalf of the Boulder Chamber.
“Impacts from broad policy hit the small guys,” Meneghel said. “Keep taking a measured approach.”
Peter Weber, a local architect who spoke before planning board in its unanimous support of the ordinance, was the only other public participant. He, too, spoke of the odd bits of business/commercial zoning caught up in the council’s plan, including an active project at 2718 Pine Street that is being slowed while developers wait to see with which rules they will have to comply.
This “illustrates what happens when (city council approaches) planning by reacting and not planning by planning,” he said.
Councilwoman Cindy Carlisle said it was important to remember why the ordinance was proposed in the first place. She and councilwoman Mirabai Nagle brought it forth in July after rumored redevelopment spooked nearby neighbors.
“It may be reactive, but it’s also planning in keeping the community integrated,” Carlisle said, “so that by-right of office or housing couldn’t just happen across (business/commercial) zones.”
“There’s a reason to look at this sooner than later,” Councilman Sam Weaver agreed. “We didn’t want, for instance, student housing to come in at Base-Mar or a hotel to come in at the Baseline Zero site.”
Mayor Suzanne Jones asked Weber how to get mixed-use development in these zones. Weber pointed out that large shopping centers are already 100 percent retail; what the city needs to do, he said, is encourage housing there.
Council agreed to exempt projects in the technical review process, as Weber’s is, and discussed banning hotels in any business/commercial zone.
Shay Castle: 303-473-1626, email@example.com or twitter.com/shayshinecastle
Originally Published on December 19, 2018 at 12:40AM
Article published originally via “opportunity zone” – Google News http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_32339133/council-inches-closer-requiring-first-floor-retail-at