By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
A series of zone changes which clear the way for mixed-use development in many areas was approved last week by the Garden Grove Planning Commission.
Commissioners voted 4-0 Thursday in favor of the proposals, which are likely to go before the Garden Grove City Council on Sept. 13.
The new zoning regulations will apply to dozens of locations across the city, most notably in stretches along Garden Grove Boulevard, along Chapman Avenue between Gilbert Street and Brookhurst Street, along Valley View Street in West Garden Grove and in the city’s historic Main Street area.
Height limits of three to 10 stories accompanied the changes. “Mixed-use” can mean combining residential, retail and office uses in one neighborhood or even one building. A three-story structure, for instance, could have a yogurt shop or insurance office on the ground floor, with apartments or condominiums above.
Mixed-use developments, more popular in the eastern United States and northern California than in Southern California, has been tried locally in Anaheim, Brea and Huntington Beach. The results have been largely disappointing, so far, but that could be more a consequence of the Great Recession than a rejection of the concept.
The “new urbanism” is a design and planning philosophy that suggests that more Americans are interested in city amenities – access to restaurants, nightclubs, shops, etc. – than in larger homes on individual suburban lots located some distance away.
Mixed use, along with mass transit and higher densities are components of that outlook. The possibility of a light rail line along the old Pacific Electric right-of-way coincides with this outlook.