How to encourage retail?
This afternoon is the second meeting of the Retail Strategy group of the DC Zoning Update. This group is discussing how zoning codes can encourage retail in DC, including where retail is allowed, and how to encourage smaller retailers as well as large.
I'll be there pushing for zoning that fosters as vibrant a retail environment as possible. What do you think we should do? Here are some general questions to get you thinking:
- Requiring retail. Should we require buildings to have ground-floor retail? What if the owner tries to rent out the space and can't? Should they be able to switch to offices, or should they have to lower their prices to get something?
- Consolidating retail. Some areas like Georgia Avenue have long strips of shops, but the population really isn't enough to support quite so many stores, so you end up with a lot of check cashing places and some unprofitable businesses that don't maintain a nice appearance. Should we push to consolidate retail in more defined districts?
- Downtown. Maybe we should require retail uses more strongly downtown? There, the office rents are so high that we may need zoning more urgently to make sure there is also enough retail.
- Neighborhood stores. Many neighborhoods are residentially zoned even on main streets, preventing convenience stores, cafes, and dry cleaners. Should we allow some of this? Do we need to create little commercial zones everywhere, or could we just let businesses under a certain square footage locate anywhere along larger streets?
- Zoning: The hidden trillion dollar tax
- As DC has grown, so has its racial prosperity gap
- Adams Morgan could get more housing and preserve its plaza, too. But it probably won't.
- Scarred by urban renewal, Silver Spring's Lyttonsville neighborhood gets a second chance
- The Obama administration says zoning is at the heart of some huge economic problems
- Pedestrian tunnels would not make DC's streets better for walking
- 8 ways to make it easier to walk around North Bethesda... or anywhere, really