The Elms was converted to condos. Stonehenge isn\u2019t open \u2014 the property\u2019s on the market. The Green Rocks Inn stopped doing business. The West Lane Inn, however, is still offering lodging \u2014 18 rooms, with continental breakfast \u2014 at its location next door to Bernard\u2019s restaurant, near the fountain, a comfortable walk from the village and its shops. The West Lane Inn has been in operation for 40 years now, and there are precursor inn businesses on the Bernard\u2019s property \u2014 The Inn at Ridgefield, Toady\u2019s Inn, Kane\u2019s Inn \u2014 that go farther back to the 1930s. But that\u2019s about it for people seeking overnight accommodations in Ridgefield. The Days Inn motel down on Route 7, just over the line in Redding, has 25 rooms. And a number of hotels operate in Danbury, seven or eight miles to the north. Some \u201cbed and breakfast\u201d proposals have gone through the Planning and Zoning Commission\u2019s special permit process, but none is currently operating. So, the commission is considering whether it should try to address \u201chospitality\u201d \u2014 or the lack of it \u2014 in town. \u201cSomething we\u2019d like to have a discussion about: How to incentivize hospitality,\u201d chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti said to the commission\u2019s June 26 planning discussion. The overall outlook of the commission\u2019s discussion was that the town could probably benefit from having more rooms available to people who want to visit Ridgefield. \u201cWe have all these arts and performance venues in town,\u201d Mucchetti said. Economic report The commission had benefit of a report to the town\u2019s Economic and Community Development Commission by Cathy Savoca, who works in the hospitality industry and studied the issue as she and her husband looked into the possibility of opening a bed and breakfast. \u201cHospitality is experience based,\u201d Savoca\u2019s report says, \u201cand the broader the range of options that can be provided to guests the better. The challenge is to find the right mix for Ridgefield.\u201d The report, from December 2017, lists the West Lane Inn and Stonehenge as \u201cinns and boutique hotels\u201d in town. But it says of Stonehenge: \u201cMinimal to no operation; For sale.\u201d The report lists two \u201cbed and breakfasts\u201d but none operating. The Green Rocks Inn \u201cclosed 11\/30\/17.\u201d And Front Porch Farm, which Ms. Savoca got approval for after battling opposition from the Circle Drive neighborhood, was listed as \u201cnot yet in operation\u201d at the time of the report. \u201cWe did get approved, but there is no set plans to open Front Porch Farm at present,\u201d Savoca said last week. \u201cWe applied for the special permit to have the option in the future should we choose to do so.\u201d Planning and Zoning Director Richard Baldelli confirmed last week that \u201ccurrently there are no legal B&Bs in operation in Ridgefield.\u201d Savoca said market trends helped explain the lack of hospitality offerings. \u201cWe lost the corporate business,\u201d she said. \u201cYour Monday-to-Thursday traffic went away.\u201d Savoca\u2019s report listed eight \u201cbrand\u201d hotels seven or eight miles from Ridgefield center \u2014 all in Danbury. Mucchetti felt additional hospitality businesses might represent something Ridgefield could support, given all the attractions that draw people to town. \u201cThey end up staying in Danbury,\u201d she said. \u201cIs there some way we might bring some of that opportunity back into town? The village seems like a great place to create some of that.\u201d Agreed need The idea that Ridgefield could benefit from more hospitality venues in town has support outside the Planning and Zoning Commission. \u201cYes, there is a need for an increase in hospitality and it is an area of focus \u2026 West Lane and Days Inn are the only two facilities operating,\u201d said John Devine of the Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC). \u201cThe Playhouse draws a large number of visitors from around Connecticut and New York and much further,\u201d he said. \u201cLounsbury House needs rooms for wedding guests. \u201cBig event weekends in town draw from outside of 06877 \u2026 Currently guests and even performers have to frequently stay in Danbury \u2026 The town would definitely benefit from another boutique hotel or an expansion of the West Lane Inn property.\u201d Savoca\u2019s report said, \u201cA recent fundraising letter from The Ridgefield Playhouse indicates that their 100,000 patrons shop, dine and stay in nearby hotels \u2014 but not in Ridgefield given very limited options. Those patrons add an additional $3.8 million to our local economy and their ability to stay in Ridgefield would increase that amount.\u201d Playhouse Executive Director Allison Stockel said this week that she thinks there\u2019s a need for overnight rooms in town \u2014 and it would be beneficial to Ridgefield to address it. \u201cWe get people from out of town that are looking for places to stay,\u201d she said. \u201cWe do get people who come from as far north as Maine and as far south as North Carolina.\u201d Rooms are also needed for the artists who come to perform \u2014 depending on their contract, these may be booked by The Playhouse or left for the artists to book on their own. \u201cWe do approximately 200 shows a year and many of them have touring parties \u2014 it\u2019s not unusual for us to put up eight to 12 rooms for artists,\u201d Stockel said. \u201cThroughout the season we probably use 200 rooms,\u201d she said. \u201cThat\u2019s the rooms we use, when we have to book it. Then there are the rooms the artists themselves book, that we don\u2019t know about\u2026 If we\u2019re doing over 200 rooms per season, I\u2019d say there\u2019s another 100 to 200 rooms that the artists do themselves.\u201d Stockel said artists performing at The Playhouse often end up booked into rooms in Danbury \u2014 sometimes because they want a full service hotel rather than a country inn. \u201cWe deal with four or five hotels. I would say we use probably annually about 30 rooms per hotel, throughout the season \u2014 so, you know, that almost 150 rooms right there. Plus, we probably use about 30 rooms through the season at the West Lane Inn.\u201d So Stockel supports the town encouraging more \u201chospitality\u201d businesses. \u201cI think it would be great to have a hotel for many reasons,\u201d she said. \u201cI think there\u2019s probably is a need for an additional something. I don\u2019t know what you\u2019d call it.\u201d she said. \u201cI think it was nice when we had The Elms and we had the West Lane Inn. I think they complimented each other, because we have a small town feel.\u201d Selectmen Steve Zemo \u2014 who put a proposal for a hotel on Old Quarry Road before planning and zoning a few years ago, but ended up withdrawing it and changing the plan to apartments over storage facilities \u2014 agreed there is a need. But he described it as an area that would have to be carefully navigated, business-wise. \u201cI think the P&Z initiative makes a lot of sense,\u201d Zemo told The Press. \u201cSome hotels or really B&B\u2019s would find a market \u2014 but like a restaurant it would depend on price points, management, image, marketing etc. \u201cA larger or \u2018flag\u2019 property would face, in my opinion, different occupancy challenges. Only a feasibility study of a proposed product would really answer the question. Considerations would be number of rooms, amenities, star rating, etc. \u201cKeep in mind we are not on any major highway and don\u2019t have any large corporate demands to fill the weekday business,\u201d he said. \u201cWeekends would experience a better demand.\u201d \u2018Boutique\u2019 hotels? Possible language the commission looked at \u2014 without taking any action \u2014 suggested adding \u201cboutique hotels and bed and breakfasts\u201d to the uses allowed the Central Business District. \u201cCurrently we do not allow hotels in the CBD at all,\u201d said Mucchetti. In the town\u2019s two other principal business zones, the B-1 and B-2 zones, the thought was to \u00a0eliminate the currently allowed \u201chotel, motel or inn\u201d from the permitted uses, and substitute \u201cboutique hotels and bed and breakfasts.\u201d A suggested definition for \u201cboutique hotel\u201d would be \u201ca building used for the purpose of furnishing, for compensation, temporary lodging to the public, with or without meals, and having lodging accommodations\u201d \u2014 with language specifying \u201climited to lodging of 30 days or less.\u201d There was some discussion as to whether the distinction of a \u201cboutique\u201d hotel had any real meaning \u2014 it seems to suggest something not too large. The \u201cboutique\u201d language might also serve the goal \u2014 which commissioners seem to share \u2014 of not encouraging hotel or motel chain establishments. \u201cNobody wants a \u2018Days Inn\u2019 in the middle of Ridgefield,\u201d said Commissioner Joe Fossi. Rooms over retail? Another idea commissioners discussed was the possibility of B&Bs or boutique hotels as uses permitted in business districts on second and third floors \u2014 above ground floor shops. \u201cThe rooms would be over retail,\u201d said Commissioner Bob Cascella. Baldelli told the commission he\u2019d like to gather more information on the issue, and get back them.