The irony that P&Z and the Parking Authority are considering regulating the number spots for certain downtown businesses rather than come up with a comprehensive plan to address the real issues is breathtaking.
We all read about concerns of retail vacancies and the diminishing business base in town. Offering meaningless tax incentives to attract tenants are laughable as are costly studies for consultants to look at our watch and tell us what time it is. We want successful retailers and restaurants then we seek to restrict them. It’s absurd. The answers are obvious. These businesses need three things to thrive. Number one: Parking. Number two: Realistic rents. Number three: A supportive market. They are having difficulty in Ridgefield because we lack all three.
Look around the town — increasing density with numerous multi-unit residential projects under way, plus efforts to attract more offices and their commuters who already clog our roads.
P&Z focuses on holding 1,200 parking places, instead of innovative plans to increase the number of spaces or mange them better. Targeting restaurant daytime employees as the cause of low retail traffic is misguided. Ridgefield is not a strong sit-down lunch market and diners will go where they can park easily. It’s easy to find a table at lunch, but brutal to get a spot off Main Street to enjoy it. More employees from real estate agencies, small offices, banks and even shops like Ridgefield Hardware and the Thrift Shop eat up more daytime spaces than anyone.
Capt. Obvious says: A successful downtown must have more parking. Attractive structured multi-level lots designed to conform with the local flavor should be considered. If not, more retail and restaurants will fail. I have lived here for 25 years and owned 17 restaurants, but never once considered opening a restaurant here. Why? Ask Capt. Obvious.
— David Sederholt
Brookside Road, June 1