For a very long time, our crime watch has been warning people about the growing level of violent crime on Lowest Greenville Ave, in the area between Belmont and Ross. For over a year, LGNA along with M-Streets, Vickery Place, Hudson Heights, Lowest Greenville West and the Belmont NA have worked with Councilmembers Hunt and Medrano and CPC Commissioner Bill Peterson to create a Planned Development District along Lowest Greenville Ave from Belmont down to Bryan. With support of a couple of the major property owners and several business owners, the City Council officially passed the PD on Wednesday in a unanimous vote. Although there was an organized opposition, they chose not to appear at the council hearing.
Going forward, businesses which wish to operate past midnight will need to get a Special Use Permit from the city in order to remain open after midnight. LGNA and the other NAs in the area are committed to supporting neighborhood friendly businesses and we will continue to support them when they apply for their permits. Although final decisions are made by the City, for those businesses that continue to foster a criminal atmosphere, LGNA will oppose their applications. There is an 8-month grace period before the last of the permits must be completed, so it may be a little while before the real impact of the PD takes place. We are hopeful that the small minority of businesses that forced this issue will change their business model in the meantime.
There has been a great deal of negativity from the opponents of this PD, predicting mass business closures and economic ruin for the area. Certainly there will be some closures, but getting rid of bad actors is the whole point. These bad actors are outnumbered by the large number of current vacancies caused by the criminal behaviour in the area. A safer atmosphere will attract more businesses with an opportunity for profit during hours outside of 11pm-2am on Friday and Saturday. In fact, we’ve already heard from one business that was waiting to make a move-in decision based on the outcome of the PD. With the city’s plan for two blocks of streetscape improvements and Madison Partners’ plans for the old Arcadia site, we’re expecting dramatic changes to the Lowest Greenville area in the next 12-18 months. There will be a lot of construction and turn-over during that transition but we believe the investment will pay off for both the business community and the neighborhood.