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I appreciate Herb's well-reasoned and reasonable essay -- but I still disagree.

The zoning overlay essentially creates two rent classes. Restaurants pay higher rent (whatever the market will bear); everything else only has to compete with each other, not with restaurants.

Without the overlay, all establishments would eventually be forced to pay restaurant-level rents. I would welcome empirical evidence to the contrary, but it's hard for me to imagine how *any* of the following businesses could remain in Cleveland Park:

Artisan Lamp
Brother Vacuum
Framemart Gallery
Guitar Gallery
Made by You
Parcel Plus
Town Jewelers
Transcendence, Perfection, Bliss
UBreakIt WeFixIt
Uptown Vision
Wake Up Little Suzy

Some would still survive -- CVS, Petco, City Fitness, etc. Maybe the primary care clinic, probably one of the dry-cleaners.

But what about the mom-and-pop, the quirky, the everyday-essential, the unique services? I mean really, vacuum repair? competing with something like Ardeo? what do *you* think would happen?

Now maybe some people value even more take-out options above a diverse retail environment. But several dozen restaurants within two or three blocks seems like enough -- count me out.

Note: On the other hand, I would absolutely support adding 2nd or 3rd stories to many of the historic buildings along the commercial strip. Maybe change the overlay rules so street frontage doesn't count for a restaurant, as long as non-restaurant retail is operating upstairs?

by Shalom on Nov 13, 2012 7:00 pm • linkreport

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