After a meeting of the minds Wednesday night at , yoga devotees in downtown Glenview could soon conserve energy for their hot workouts--by saving themselves a trip up a flight of stairs.
The likes of tutors, day-care operators and photographers will also be able to greet customers coming right in the front door, off both Glenview and Waukegan Roads, if the governmental processes churn to their logical conclusion.
And if the debate breaks just right, doctors, insurance and travel agents and financial advisors can serve the public with not a stair between them and the street.
That was the result of a consultant’s report that drew broad support from the Village Board to seriously consider relaxing the restrictive zoning ordinance that limits businesses to retailers over blocks of downtown’s two major crossroads.
Revised zoning would permit a number of kinds of service businesses, but it’s unclear whether the board will go as far as allowing offices for medical and financial specialists, among others.
"Retail-only has not worked in these economic times,” said Village President Kerry Cummings, summing up the board’s feelings after hearing a voluminous report on zoning changes from consultant U.S. Equities Realty.
Talks move to Plan Commission
Further discussion toward eventual zoning changes will now proceed through at least two Plan Commission meetings, where more specific recommendations will be offered, said Village Attorney Eric Patt.
. The present ordinance limits businesses to retail-only on ground floors over most of both sides of Glenview Road from Waukegan west to just beyond the Metra tracks. The retail-only restriction also covers most of both sides of Waukegan Road from Dewes Street nearly two blocks north to Grove Street.
The restriction had come into place over past decades because village officials viewed downtown as a “walkable, pedestrian-oriented” district, said Glenview economic development director Ellen Dean.
“You’re walking through downtown and you have large gaps in what we call the ‘retail wall,’” Dean added. “You’re not going to the dentist every day. Retail are things people need more often."
and what U.S. Equities estimated as only 60,000 square-feet worth of retail demand for 120,000 square feet of total downtown space, changes in both philosophy and zoning are necessary, board members agreed.
“Lots of things not thought of as retail I’ve considered retail,” citing locksmiths and a photo/art studio, said Trustee Paul Detlefs. “I’m inclined to be pretty broad on this.”
“I have no problem with any business going in, non-retail, on the first floor,” added Trustee Scott Britton. “The minute we get too specific on directing which business goes in…we create other problems.”
Personal services, educational businesses get nod
At the least, Cummings and other trustees favored looking at what U.S. Equities classified as 'personal services and education businesses' be allowed into downtown ground floors as part of an amended zoning ordinance.
These would include yoga/pilates/personal training studios, health and fitness clubs (subject to size), indoor recreation, health and beauty personal services, laundry and dry cleaning/tailoring, schools with short instructional durations such as music and dance, art and photo studios (with classes), print and copy shops and tutoring and day care centers.
U.S Equity also recommended “further study” on the prohibition against ground-floor professional services and business services such as banks, and commercial and medical offices.
Owner Bob Hausheer of the , 1822 Glenview Rd., in business for six years, wants to see “a lot more of a mixture of retail with
some service businesses.”
However, yoga studios do not top his list.
“That’s a destination business,” Hausheer said. “People come in their sweats, would they dry off (before coming into buy flowers)?”
Although he supported the serious look at zoning changes, Trustee Paul O’C. White wondered how much good changes will do in a rapidly shifting retail environment.
“How are you going to make this thing viable?” White asked. “There’s no question we have to expand beyond our concept of retail. A substantial amount of retail is rapidly moving on-line. We have to be looking at a different retail model. Whole industries have been decimated (citing newspapers and books).
“The problem will get worse as time goes on. People in retail space will have to provide a unique benefit (not seen on-line)...The ones that provide that unique, personal services will survive and thrive.”
Dean said her department provided U.S Equities “lots of years of information…files and files and files, both hard copy and digital.”
While focusing on relaxing the retail-only zoning, U.S. Equities also recommended installing angled parking to accommodate more cars in front of each business on Glenview Road.
“Angled parking brings more of a hometown feel to it,” Cummings said.
To further discuss the zoning changes plan, the Glenview Chamber of Commerce will have a coffee-and-cake session at 8 a.m. Friday at its offices, 2320 Glenview Rd.
Stay tuned to Patch for updates on Glenview's downtown revilization plan.
What zoning revisions or changes would you like to see for downtown Glenview? What's an ideal downtown vision? Share with us in the comments or sound off on Facebook!