The Redding Chamber of Commerce has a board-adopted, public policy document titled “Where We Stand”, which states the organization’s general position on issues of importance to our members and the economic vitality of the greater Redding area. It serves as a litmus test for our Board and for me as the president and CEO, to guide our decisions related to issues that affect local commerce.
This week presented an opportunity for the chamber to chime in support of proposed changes to the Downtown Specific Plan. The City of Redding staff recommendation involved many “tweeks” to the plan, perhaps none more significant than the annexation of the “backdoor” to downtown Redding – lower Butte Street (below Shasta Regional Medical Center and CalTrans) – as well as other streets that border the charming Garden Tract neighborhood to the east of the downtown core.
The challenge that existed prior to this week’s City Council 3-0 vote to approve the addenda to the plan (Resner and Dacquisto recused themselves, citing conflicts of interest), was that the zoning on Butte Street was restricted to only “General Office” and existing businesses outside of that allowable use had been grandfathered in as legal, non-conforming. This means that the blocks along Butte Street, between Continental and Sequoia Streets, have been, in a sense, frozen in time. I for one haven’t seen much change occur on that stretch of road since I was a kid riding my bicycle to the Downtown Mall to buy baseball cards in 1990.
I applaud the City of Redding Planning Commission and City Council for giving the go-ahead to the staff recommendation. We have empirical data that has shown us how effective the Downtown Specific Plan has been in encouraging development/redevelopment and in revitalizing commercial corridors. The specific plan streamlines projects, makes permitting easier, and reduces costs to the developer, who takes on the financial risk. I look forward to celebrating more success stories in the plan’s expanded area in the near future.
President & CEO