Why we have mixed-use zoning
I very much enjoyed reading Ken Vail’s June 30 letter to the editor. And welcome to Benicia, Ken.
Ken’s comment that “the restaurants and bars would probably have increased business if loud music at outdoor venues could go into the night” raises some thoughts though. This comment, together with Mr. Lucca’s earlier words that went something like “if residents can’t stand the noise they should move,” suggests to me that people are forgetting some of the reasons mixed-use zoning exists in the first place.
Back in 2006 when the Mixed-Use Master Plan was developed, the benefits of mixed-use zoning were well-known by those working on the project. Some of these benefits included:
1. Having people living downtown provides a permanent frequent-customer base for downtown businesses. As to restaurants, as a downtown resident, I can attest that I and my neighbors are constantly visiting the downtown restaurants–for breakfast, lunch, dinner, take-out–far more than if we lived farther away. And there are our visitors. My brother-in-law recently stayed with us for 10 days, for example, and had breakfast downtown almost every one of those days.
2. Having residents living downtown provides “eyes on the street” and make downtown areas safer. And, of course, more people will visit the businesses in downtown areas where they feel safe than in such areas where they do not.
So would business be better in the downtown if Mr. Lucca got his wish and the residents all moved out and he could play his music as loud as he liked for as long as he liked?