I published this in my “A2Council Update” newsletter on April 12, 2022
This week, I attended a public meeting about a proposed TC1 (Transit Corridor) zoning change for the Stadium Boulevard area, which will impact the western edge of Ward 4 at Maple. I shared information about this meeting previously:
Increasing allowable height and density in this area is meant to create housing for people in an area that is accessible without a car, on a transit/bus line. Reduced setbacks and reduced parking in this zoning district are planned so that the area will become more walkable — the idea is that pedestrians accessing commercial activity in this corridor would no longer be walking across enormous parking lots. The proposed district has parking maximums (rather than minimums) to eliminate these lots. The goal of rezoning this corridor is walkable mixed use: more housing and more residents to support commercial activity, all within a walkable area.
I live just a few blocks from this area and so I am keenly aware of how it functions right now, with a lot of commercial activities in mostly single story buildings, many of them surrounded by large parking lots. My husband frequently shops the two hardware stores on Stadium (Ace Barnes Hardware and Stadium Hardware). You may have seen me biking up Stadium to meet residents at Holidays, Westgate library or Plum Market. When my kids were younger, we often sent them on adventures on this corridor: walking to Dimo’s Donuts or biking to Barry’s Bagels at Westgate.
At this week’s meeting, neighbors and community members shared many concerns and perspectives – both positive and negative – in response to this plan. I recognize the waste and inefficiency of so many single story buildings and also the value of more people being able to live on a corridor like this one. I agree with residents who find it uncomfortable to walk or bike across huge parking lots. I have seen for myself how much space in these lots is empty/unused quite a lot of the time.
Attendees at this meeting raised one specific concern that I share: as proposed, the rezoning may effectively eliminate all of the commercial activity that currently exists on this corridor. In response to questions, City staff confirmed that the proposed TC1 zoning district does not require any commercial use, though it does require additional height (15 feet) and glazed windows on all ground-level floors. This height requirement means that every first floor will be tall enough to accommodate a range of non-residential activities, such as a commercial kitchen for a restaurant. Commercial activities are a “permitted use” in this zoning district.
This goal of walkable mixed use is worth discussing because we have evidence that design requirements alone (floor height and windows) will not result in retail or commercial space. For example, the neighborhood adjacent to The George on Packard has watched a similarly designed space remain empty for years — the owner now proposes to convert all of it into residential units. A similar space on the first floor of The Yard (South Main) has also been empty for years. Both The George and The Yard displaced significant neighborhood retail, with the promise that some amount of commercial activity would continue to exist at street level.
I look forward to ongoing community conversation about our goals for this area of the City and how a re-zoning will help us achieve them. If you have perspectives to share, there is another engagement meeting planned for this week:
Online Webinar – TC1 Rezoning of Stadium Boulevard Area
Tuesday, June 14 7:00 PM
Zoom Meeting (see details below)
To join with your computer, tablet, or smartphone: Go to www.zoom.us/join then enter meeting ID 977 6634 1226 and passcode 882985
To join audio only: Call 877-853-5247 then enter meeting ID: 977 6634 1226
For more information, visit the City’s website about this rezoning proposal: