Town plan: Another business study? Maybe yes, maybe no
Paying for yet another study on businesses in Ridgefield? Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission were hesitant about the idea during an update on the town Plan of Conservation and Development in December.
The commission has about $8,000 alloted from the town to pay for a study on business in Ridgefield — funds that were included in the town’s budget for rewriting the town plan.
Glenn Chalder of Planimetrics, the firm hired by the commission to update the plan, said the town Economic and Community Development Commission had already had a number of studies on business in town that might allow the commission to hold off on doing its own study.
Privately, Chalder said, members of the ECDC have said “what we need is not more studies, but more implementation,” Chalder said.
If the commission drops the study, the $8,000 goes back to the town.
“I say we take the credit,” said Vice Chairman Joe Fossi.
“Not because it’s $8,000, but because it’s not needed,” added Commissioner John Katz.
Not all were so easily swayed.
“I’m not going to die on this, but I am against [taking the credit],” said Commissioner Bob Cascella. “I have no idea the quality of these studies.”
Business studies more than four years old “are not worth the paper they’re printed on,” he added.
The Hamden compromise
The study proposed by Chalder will be conducted by Camoin Associates, a firm based out of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and will take about 60 days to complete.
Chalder said Camoin recently completed a similar study on business in Hamden, and offered to present commissioners with copies to get a sense of what they would be buying.
“I think that’s the compromise,” said Commissioner Cathy Savoca.
Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti said she thought some of the business owners might find it beneficial to speak with someone one-on-one as part of the study.
Most of the studies from the ECDC have focused on businesses on Main Street, Cascella said. “If we’re making a plan for our community for the next 10 years … we should have all the information that we can,” he said. “It’s already paid for.”
The commission hired Planimetrics to help update the town plan, a project it undertakes every 10 years, back in July. The plan essentially lays out a roadmap for the future of the town’s development — what residents and town leaders want the town to look like for the next decade.
Fossi didn’t seem convinced the study would help.
“I have seen so many studies done ... that get stuck on a shelf because nobody’s ever come up with the money to implement them,” he said. “I’ve gotten cynical.”