July 18, 2013CITY OF GROSSE POINTE — Amended zoning regulations of the central business district passed the city council this week minus a clause that members felt could inhibit commercial investment, both retail and office.
The City of Grosse Pointe council on Monday, July 15, rejected making property owners in the Village C-2 district divulge the name of retail tenants upon seeking a special use variance from rules requiring the front 60 percent of first-floor commercial space to be dedicated to retail usage.
“This makes it more restrictive from a sales and marketing standpoint for a landlord,” Councilman Andrew Turnbull said when recommending the clause be stricken.
“Some retailers don’t want their name out until they sign the lease,” added Mayor Dale Scrace.
The council agreed the mandate countered other zoning changes intended to ease investment in the downtown Village district.
New wording expands the ordinance’s goal to “preserve and promote opportunities for mid-size retail uses that will attract customers from local and regional markets to support other users in the Village.”
In that spirit, dance studios and fitness centers, previously restricted to basements and second-floors, now can be located on ground floors:
fronting Notre Dame or St. Clair at least 60 feet from Kercheval and
fronting Kercheval if located in the rear 40 percent of the building.
Another new provision requires a 4-to-6 foot ornamental masonry wall separate abutting commercial and residential properties.
The definition of a bakery, a permitted use, was clarified to specify a small, retail operation, not a wholesale factory.
Residents attending the meeting encouraged the council to legislate flexible zoning rules making the Village a vibrant commercial center that includes an office component.
“We need to attract more businesses, like Birmingham or Rochester,” said Brigitte Rist, a Village merchant.
“You need to rethink total retail use on Kercheval,” said Beverly Leinweber, of the Farms, a longtime Village booster.
“Even if it’s office, you’re bringing in people who would use retail,” said resident Ginni Furnari.