Create opportunities for additional neighborhood supportive uses, especially in areas where services are lacking.
Ideal neighborhoods include not only a mix of housing types, but also a mix of uses, including neighborhood-serving businesses and opportunities for work and leisure. Incorporating more of these uses into existing neighborhoods as well as new developments should be encouraged. Not all commercial development proposals near residential neighborhoods should be considered supportive, but those that also respond to the “Design” and “Equity” policies, and provide a clear neighborhood need, can be. Additionally, commercial development near residential neighborhoods should not be rejected because it might generate activity near that neighborhood. Vibrant neighborhoods include a range of uses.
Previous efforts to grow neighborhood-scale commercial areas came at a time when traditional anchor retailers were continually closing smaller stores to concentrate their efforts on larger big-box style footprints in higher traffic areas. Competition among retailers nationally meant that scale was the driving factor, and neighborhood business zones were no longer suitable for their needs. The loss of anchor tenants reduced the overall viability of the commercial spaces. Given the shifting nature of retail in an e-commerce era, businesses must re-imagine the way they are meeting the needs of the neighborhood.
Today’s successful neighborhood commercial has a much stronger sense of place, where residents of the area prioritize convenience over cost. Restaurants, personal services, and boutique shopping with integrated community social spaces are the hallmarks of successful small-scale commercial areas like Romany Road and the ever-evolving Southland Drive. Redevelopment of existing commercial centers should focus primarily on creating a space for people to spend time, and smaller spaces for people to shop and work. Including new residential units can in turn complement the space and provide a transition to the surrounding neighborhood.
- Perform gap analysis of existing neighborhoods to identify enhancement opportunities for new supportive uses.