Would You Welcome Fast Food in the 'Wood?

Some planning board members think revising the fast food ordinance would not be a great idea

The lines over what's considered fast food have blurred over the past three decades, says Village Planner Blais Brancheau, and business is suffering as a result of Brancheau reported at the last planning board meeting that six small businesses have been denied entry to Ridgewood because of the ordinance.

But some planning board members fear that Ronald and Wendy could displace mom and pop, and further charge that Ridgewood residents would be upset by seeing corporate fast food popping up in the CBD.

Where do you stand on this? Would a fast food restaurant–which Brancheau says is unlikely to even nudge into the CBD if it were fully allowed–damage the character of the downtown?

Given that many existing businesses can be considered fast food, what about the fairness of barring some but not others?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

RdgwdGRock August 22, 2011 at 02:17 PM
the CBD is already damaged by the many empty storefronts. done right, the fast food restaurants would be welcome.
Dominick Nizza August 22, 2011 at 02:53 PM
RGuy11, The Chamber would and should welcome "any new comer", large or small that is willing to invest in a business here after studying the potential for its success!
RdgwdGRock August 22, 2011 at 03:12 PM
A number of established and new small businesses have departed the past few years. There seems to be too much "studying" here in RIdgewood and a lack of real forward movement in a timely manner.
Harlan Consider August 22, 2011 at 05:19 PM
It will no longer be Ridgewood, but rather Anytown, USA.
RdgwdGRock August 22, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Neal - do you mean "Anytown, USA" as with towns in the south or midwest that have many closed storefronts? Perhaps the Ridgewood Chamber can run a campaign "see the Ohio rustbelt right here in Ridgewood downtown. Guided tours now being booked".
Harlan Consider August 22, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Ridgewood is booming compared to most other towns. Anywhere. Yes, Ridgewood does have a small number of empty storefronts, but it is the charm of Ridgewood that sets it apart from the generic national chain stores and restaurants that we see once we leave town. It might seem like a quick solution to allow the fast food places in, but the market can only sustain so much business, and all we would see are the remaining mom and pop places close due to competition, and once better economic times return, we are stuck with these eyesores.
alice August 22, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Those fast food chain restaurants aren't only "eyesores," their food is bad for everyone! Miniscule recent innovations, like adding fruit or carrot sticks to kids' meals, are vastly outweighed by the inferior quality of the rest of the food.There's enough of that crap already accessible in bergen county without seeking to put more of it right under our noses.
RdgwdGRock August 22, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Alice - I've seen tastefully designed fast food restaurants in towns that have tight zoning. Rhetorical question: Are you telling me that the various restaurants here in town that serve pizza, donuts, ice cream, fried foods, etc.,etc. are good for you? The proverbial barn door has long been open. Time to get with the times.
Salma Abu-Ghazaleh August 22, 2011 at 09:33 PM
I think that we can allow certain fast food chains that fit in with the values of Ridgewood. Why does everyone jump to McDonalds or Wendy? Why can't we allow Elevation Burger to open? I don't think that the issue should be that the food is unhealthy for you because let's be honest...cupcakes, ice cream, pizza, and many others aren't healthy.
Craig Hueneke August 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM
One word: HOOTERS!!.. LOL Just kidding. As long as it is in good taste, (no pun intended) I think it will help the Village's CBD prosper. Letting them open up in Ridgewood is one thing, but allowing them to build or alter the landscape is another thing I think we would all agree we don't want. With that being said, we have to take into consideration that many of these fast food places are not going to invest in a location that will not support drive-thru capabilities, which 98% of the CBD buildings can not support. So by limiting it to no drive-thru facilities may help "control" the trans-fat tidal wave from taking over.
RdgwdGRock August 23, 2011 at 03:26 AM
the "drive thru facilities" are already in-place; people double park on Ridgewood Ave and Broad St, etc. to p/u stuff. No consideration for traffic, and the police are noiwhere to be seen.
Deanne Dunne August 23, 2011 at 11:01 AM
I vote " no thanks " to fast food chains. I wholly agree with Neal and Alice. Do we really need another issue to divide the town over? Leave the ordinance alone please! If we can "Preserve Graydon" we certainly can keep out fast food chains .
Klatu August 23, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Let's keep the 'fast food' on route 17. Ridgewood is not Paramus and I'd like to keep it that way.
Anonymous Guy September 19, 2011 at 06:49 PM
I think that you could still keep it limited, but the ordinance needs to be re-vamped to reflect "fast casual". There is no reason an frozen custard business should not be open in ridgewood, we already have ice cream. There is no reason a burger place shouldn't open, oh wait, there is one coming already! Ridgewood is not attractive to the big chains, no parking, no drive thru. Ridgewood can modify and not open the door further. Keep the reheated, pre-cooked portion of the ordinance, but stop defining fast food as having paper plates and plastic silverware, many of the chinese and other restaurants already do this. Re-vamp it to reflect the times.
Anonymous Guy September 19, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Elevation Burger and Smashburger have unrealistic rental amounts that they expect to pay. Ridgewood does not fit within their financial boundry. While they are in Montclair, they looked at Ridgewood and ran when they heard what the rents were in town.


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