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Proposed bookstore may pave way for more small retail shops along Main Street

BY Renee Trappe
Posted on 9/21/2018, 12:01 AM

The owner of an online bookselling operation is working with the city of Carbondale to open a small retail shop in a historic old home on Main Street.

In so doing, Lori Sailiata is doing a favor for other small business owners who also might want to open shops in the city's PAR district -- a part of town that buffers the strictly residential neighborhoods from the commercial district -- because she is the first to approach the city with opening a retail shop there.

On Wednesday, Sailiata crossed the first major hurdle when the Planning Commission agreed to recommend a text amendment via a special use permit for her shop at 705 W. Main St. The recommendation is expected to be discussed by the Carbondale City Council on Oct. 9, and if approved, she can return to the Planning Commission in November for her actual permit.

Travis Taylor, Carbondale senior planner, said the Professional Administrative Office, Residential zoning district, or PAR, is home to professional offices, small schools, day cares, banks without drive-thrus and other uses that generally don't disrupt the residential feel of the area.

The district includes properties on either side of Main Street, from Almond and Maple streets on the east to not quite Oakland Avenue to the west.

The Prairie style house at 705 W. Main St. was built in 1917 by John and Constance Stotlar, who lived there with their son, Raymond. Many years later it was the original home to the Carbondale Times, which has since moved next door to the east.

In allowing retail into the PAR district, Taylor said the Planning Commission intends to look at each application on its own merits. Only small scale retail will be permitted, he said; shops that are "harmonious" with the area.

Sailiata said her new business will offer used books, plus other little items common to bookstores, like notepaper, greeting cards, pens, etc.

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