Ground floor, mixed use vs commercial only – Spijkenisse example

Spijkenisse city centre is half in zoned mix use ground floor and half zoned ground-business only with housing above.Scale of example: The city of Spijkenisse (pop 72,545, area 30km2, 2,418 people per km 2) is a metro suburb of Rotterdam and the largest centre in the South Holland Islands region and it want’s to be the lead centre of its neighbouring islands Voorn to the West and Hoeksche-Waard (pop 85,999) to the East, a total population of close to 245,700 people. Note: the only connection between Hoeksche-Waard and Spijkenisse is by ferry.

This is Spijkenisse
‘One country two systems” (OMA)
Spijkenisse does not belong to any major system

The Spijkenisse city centre: “there are some 250 shops, numerous cafes and restaurants, [a cool library], a cinema and theatre within walking distance, the centre is a tractor for the entire region, easily accessible via the Groene Kruisweg [road from Brielle through Spijkenisse to Rotterdam] and with an ample parking facilities housing about 3,000 cars at €9 per day. For example, if you go to a performance, you park your car in the garage right next to the theatre” (Hamilton’s Te Awa The Base has 183 Stores & 2,150 car parks. Zuidplein Rotterdam has 155 stores, parking cost €18 per day and has a local population of 66,684 people). In Spijkenisse the local council “strives for a ‘compact centre’; the ’round village’ of the past, they want to make it cosier”.

The round village
Zoning Map

The above image shows the ‘round village’- highlighted yellow in the first image, I have drawn as pastel pink circle on zoning map. Note: the round village is half in area living above ground functions (red Wonen boven beganegrondfuncties) and half in incidental residence (yellow Incidentele woning). Images above are from different angle, to help I have orange X at windmill, teal line for canal, magenta circle around church.

Nature of the challenge: A quarter of the shopping area in the city centre of Spijkenisse have to disappear. The council strives for a ‘compact centre’; the ’round village’ of the past has to come back, we want to move 25 percent of the total retail space to existing retail premises. That’s how we want to make it cosier.  The movement is possible because quite a few shop buildings in the city centre are empty. The vacancy … [are] mainly due to the fact that people are buying more and more over the internet. The ‘big city’ of Rotterdam also attracts a lot of purchasing power. … Recently, there were meetings to let shopkeepers and shop owners talk about what the centre should look like”.

Shopping map

Focus on the effect of mixed use ground level along Voorstraat and Noordeinde (blue dots above and left of canal), this is the old village zoned as ‘incidental residence’ (yellow area on zoning map).

Point 1. When demand for retail space reduces in area zoned ‘incidental residence’ the space is converted to other uses including residential, this zone does “allow maximum flexibility in land use so that buildings get renovated and economic activities take place to pay the taxes to maintain a high level of services” (ref 1)

Point 2. Seventeen ‘Horeca’s’ (Hotel/Restaurant/Café) are located within zone ‘incidental residence’ (blue dots), a smaller number 9+5 are in area zoned ‘living above ground functions’ (red + green dots), even less by the theatre and casino. The real world example from Spijkenissen shows when given the choice owners of Restaurants/Cafés will open ‘on the street where and how they want and decide and it is right and convenient for them’. (Ref 2) In Spijkenissen most choice where there is mixed use at ground level.

The question for Hamilton city leaders: what assumptions are used to justify ‘no residential at ground-floor level’ in business zones and ‘only retail activities and restaurants shall be located at the ground floor level of buildings within the Primary Frontages’ (ref 3)

Note: This post is about central Spijkenisse which became part of the municipality of Nissewaard in 2015

Ref 1 – Zoned in the USA, by Sonia Hirt. Chapter 3 – How others do it – France – page 71 Quote “from French colleague.” List Accent 1;

Ref 2 – In 1366, Duke Ernst I authorized the citizens of Göttingen “that they like to build, set and make their department store and town hall in Göttingen on the street … where and how they want and decide and it is right and convenient for them”.

Ref 3

The following is from the Hamilton city Operative District plan, (ODP) (my emphasis)

“Chapter 6 Business 1 to 7 Zones

6.4.7 Residential Development – no residential activities shall be undertaken at ground-floor level. (p23)

7 Central City Zone

7.5.3 Residential – i) Primary and Secondary Active Frontages. On primary and secondary frontages … ground floor pedestrian entrances to upper-floor residential units shall be a maximum width of 4m. Residential units shall not be located at ground floor level on primary frontages. (p29)

13 Rototuna Town Centre Zone

13.8 Rules – General Standards for All Permitted Activities in the Rototuna Town Centre Zone (p15)

13.8.2 Primary Frontages – Only retail activities and restaurants shall be located at the ground floor level of buildings within the Primary Frontages. (p15)

13.8.6 & 13.9.8 Residential Activities in Non-Residential Precincts

a) No residential units (including apartment buildings), residential centres, managed care facilities, rest homes, visitor accommodation or marae shall be located at ground floor level within the Retail, Employment or Community Precincts. (p17&22)”

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