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Crestview zoning change

Like many cities with historic downtowns, Crestview is trying to find the right formula to make the district thrive. The latest step is a zoning change, to let people live as well as work downtown.

Laura Hussey "Here's how city leaders feel that mixed use zoning will benefit downtown. Take this building for an example, it's for lease. Conceivably you could rent out that downstairs as a restaurant or any other business. Upstairs, you could rent out apartments or lofts"

At one time that's how it was in Crestview. The upstairs of Desi's Restaurant was once a hotel.
Nathan Boyles "As we've gone back into our downtowns and revisited those districts, we've learned that you need people to live down there to support the businesses that are downtown. So you kind of have to weave both of those together"

The City Council unanimously approved a zoning change from commercial only, to mixed use. Downtown boosters say allowing people to live there will encourage businesses to stay open later. Hannah Kania from Fred Astaire Dance Studio says now, it's like a ghost town at night.

Hanna Kania/Fred Astaire "We're I think the only business open until 10 sometimes at night. People get out of the parties and it's dead, Main Street has no life" 

Crestview's Mayor says the change will be a boon for property owners who want rental income, and for students at Florida A & M Pharmacy School, who need affordable housing.
        
Picking up lunch at Simon's Family Restaurant, local Tommy Rogers says the zoning change is mostly positive. But like some business owners, he worries about parking.

Tommy Rogers "Parking is an issue right now to begin with. Now you're going to bring in places to live upstairs. yeah, that's gonna be an issue"

Business owner Nathan Boyles says if downtown thrives and property values rise, there will be revenue for parking solutions.

Nathan Boyles "I think that's a good problem to have, because if we don't have enough parking spaces, that means that we have people coming downtown, they want to be here and they want to shop and spend money in our downtown district."