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Bloomington Allows Artisanal Production in Retail Zones

Craft beer aficionados take note. Bloomington, Illinois now allows businesses selling artisanal products to manufacture their goods on-site. The ruling blurs a distinction between industrial and commercial zoning.
July 14, 2016, 5am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Joshua Rainey Photography

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."

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Published on Monday, June 27, 2016 in Pantagraph
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