Technological and economic changes have made certain small-scale manufacturing businesses clean, compatible uses in commercial districts. They can be combined with retail or educational programs, and help create unique, interesting and vibrant places. The amendment updated the Zoning Ordinance to capture these emerging uses for both new and repurposed buildings in commercially-zoned areas. Business types include a broad range from textiles to woodworking or vertical farming, and may utilize tools, light machinery or 3D printers. Various business models may be accommodated, including makerspaces, shared kitchens or other production facilities, as well as spaces for individual tenants. The amendment intends to capitalize on the research being done by Recast City for the Office of Community Revitalization and support potential pilot projects.
The new rules define small-scale production broadly to include the entire manufacturing process from design to production to packaging. The rules also allow these makers to offer retail sales, training and education.
Small manufacturers would be limited in size to 6,000 to 10,000 square feet, depending on the zoning district where they’re located. However, most craft manufacturing businesses are less than 5,000 square feet.
The new regulations also include restrictions to ensure these small businesses are good neighbors, such as requiring production and storage to be inside to prevent noise or odors.
Because craft manufacturers can act as both producers and retailers under the rules, this dual role makes the businesses a good fit for mixed-use areas. They can help draw foot traffic to older established areas and bring new life to neighborhoods.
To bolster this place making function, the zoning regulations require these manufacturers in commercial or mixed-use districts offer retail sales, tours, classes or other direct interaction with the public.