[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — A new downtown Phoenix zoning district would make it easier for artists and other small business owners to live and work in the same building, free of several city-imposed restrictions governing parking and other activities. The Arts, Culture, and Small Business Overlay has been in the works for two years, and comes to a vote before the Phoenix Planning Commission Wednesday night. It is expected to win approval and move on to the City Council next week. Planners hope the new overlay will stimulate a thriving arts district near downtown, while minimizing issues that have proven problematic.
The boundaries of the proposed overlay include three areas that artists have colonized over the past several years, including Roosevelt Street between 13th Street and Grand Avenue, Grand Avenue from Van Buren to Interstate 10, and the warehouse district south of downtown. The overlay would not change the zoning of any parcels, but it would broaden the number of activities that could be permitted under the zoning. At first, the changes would focus on the Roosevelt Row area between Third and Seventh Streets, and Grand Avenue between Van Buren and Interstate 10.