The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has reacted in a cautious but positive way to the “retail plan” adopted July 18 by the County Board.
The new framework, which passed on a 4-1 vote, is designed to be more flexible in addressing the needs of retail businesses in the county, and broadens the definition of what will be considered for use in space zoned for retail use.
The plan provides “consistent, clear guidance and definitions, as well as flexibility,” County Board Chairman Mary Hynes said of the update, which replaces rules in place since 2001.
Among the changes: a broader definition of what retail is, incorporating everything from repair shops to restaurants. Facilities that provide “visual interest and active street life” will now be permitted uses in ground-floor-retail spaces, where previously they were not always allowed.
The vision statement of the retail plan calls on Arlington to be a community where retail is “convenient, appealing, activating and sustainable.”
Kate Roche, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, said her organization “supports the vision of the plan, but encourages those involved in the plan’s implementation to use it purely as guiding framework, and not as a means to prevent the market from dictating appropriate uses.”