Geneva Plan Designed to Enhance Downtown Retail Character

For years, Genevans have expressed concern when a new bank or business office locates in a downtown 1st floor commercial space.  

The concern is that too many banks and offices will erode the retail character and viability of downtown.  

First floor banks and business offices can create gaps in store-to-store shopper interaction, reduce retail activity, prevent retail expansion, and threaten retail sales tax revenue generation.  

Parking spaces used by employees of banks and office also reduce parking availability for shoppers. 


This past January, the City Council directed the Community Development Department staff to meet with downtown merchants and property owners and describe a proposal to place a zoning restriction on the establishment of new first floor banks and offices.  

The council also wants to gather comments on the proposal from any and all interested parties.  

The restriction would apply to building spaces zoned B2 Business District with frontage on W. State Street between River Lane and Seventh Street, and a portion of Third Street immediately north and south of W. State St.  

All existing banks and business offices in these areas would remain, be able to expand, and be able to change to another bank or office use in perpetuity. 

The city already has a similar restriction on 1st floor banks and offices in the B3 Business District, which covers most of the commercial properties along Third Street.

Last week department staff held meetings with downtown merchants and property owners to review the proposal and gather comments. 

Visit  to view a series of slides describing the proposal.  

The department has received many comments, and will continue to do so until April 29, 2013, when the City Council will conduct a Policy Discussion on the proposal and review the comments received.

For more information, contact David DeGroot, City Planner at (630) 232-0814 or