From The News-Sentinel:
BLOOMINGTON — A task force appointed by Bloomington’s mayor is going to consider steps other than his proposed ban on new chain stores and restaurants to protect the character of the city’s downtown. …
Mayor Mark Kruzan asked task force members in September to start considering chain store restrictions. He has said he wants to protect areas with distinctive business identities.
How can a ban on certain kinds of business ownership save a downtown? Even the most traditional downtowns of the 1950s had chain stores like G.C. Murphy’s and Walgreens.
The mayor should perhaps instead consider The Three Rules of Urban Design for his downtown:
- Build to the sidewalk (i.e., property line).
- Make the building front “permeable” (i.e., no blank walls).
- Prohibit parking lots in front of the building.
It doesn’t matter who owns the store. It matter where the store is located on the site plan. Because nowadays, big chains such as Subway and Starbucks can easily meet these urban standards. The problems arise when stores in an urban area ignore the simple steps above that would make any building a compliment.