Bloomington Allows Artisanal Production in Retail Zones
In a bid to support local entrepreneurs, the city of Bloomington, Illinois has opened business districts to small-scale production of items like beers, candles, and soap, reports Maria Nagle. "Before the change approved by the City Council, the city's code allowed for only a giant leap: work at home as a hobby or go to a manufacturing district to open as a business."
Opponents of the change included nearby residents concerned about the materials these businesses might use. Nevertheless, "the change approved by a unanimous vote of the council applies to any business that produces 'on the premises articles for sale of artisan quality or effect or handmade workmanship.'"
The decision represents a shift toward a wider mix of uses that embraces small business, a trend that could stave off economic stagnation in smaller cities. "'[The proposed change] is presenting a new category which is basically a retail category that is supported by onsite production,' said Community Development Director Tom Dabareiner in his presentation to the council."