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Newly Adopted Zoning Provides Flexibility for Experience-based Businesses

March 10, 2020 -- At the February 24, 2020 meeting, the City Council adopted an amendment to the City’s zoning code to introduce new experiential land uses in the City’s Central Business District. This proactive change aims to increase commercial occupancy and to maintain Highland Park’s vibrancy and competitiveness in the future.

Including additional experiential land uses in the City’s zoning code reflects trends in development as new businesses and land uses are introduced to the marketplace. Experiential uses include health clubs, pop-up businesses or exhibitions, craft breweries and wineries, tasting shops, arts studios, meeting and event venues.  This amendment also introduces more flexibility for new and exciting cultural, recreational, and entertainment uses and retail.

This zoning code amendment precedes the City’s plan this year to further review the boundaries and regulations associated with the Pedestrian Oriented Shopping Overlay (POSO) District to provide more flexibility to local businesses. In August of 2017, the City Council adopted changes to the boundaries of the POSO district to focus retail use within the central business district core while allowing more uses in other areas downtown.

The City is also conducting a comprehensive and holistic update to the City’s Business Development Strategic Plan in 2020 to support the City’s business climate and to address evolving consumer trends. The Plan will guide the City’s business development efforts over the next three years and aims to attract exciting business opportunities to the community and to retain and support existing businesses. The Strategic Plan update process will include multiple stakeholder meetings with residents, property and business owners, realtors, and strategic business partners.

“It is important that the City continue to preserve downtown Highland Park’s unique character, while also taking into consideration the current trends in business development,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “The business landscape is constantly changing and we need to change with it to make sure that we remain competitive by providing opportunities for new businesses to succeed now and in the future.”

For more information about the experiential uses zoning amendment, please contact the Community Development Department at 847.432.0867.