The Richfield Plan Commission voted Thursday to approve a change to the village’s ordinances that would ban any new fast-food restaurant in residential areas. Traditional sitdown restaurants are not affected.
The change comes after a month of debate and public hearings on the matter. A suggestion by a Richfield resident at the March Plan Commission meeting sparked this conversation. The language of the revised ordinance provides guidance to prevent fast-food restaurants from areas of the village zoned B-1, which is a “neighborhood business” classification.
“We thought it would be in the best interests of Richfield to remove that option and not allow fast food so close to residential areas,” said Assistant to the Village Administrator Jim Healy.
Fast-food restaurants are allowed in the B-2, B-3 and B-4 zones, which allow commercial properties instead of neighborhood businesses.
Before the change could be made, the Plan Commission had to agree on what “fast food” really meant.
“I was trying to think of all the restaurants I know in the village and if we are creating something we don’t want to create,” said Plan Commission Chairman James Otto.
He was focused on restaurants like Carol Ann’s Pizza. The village’s clarified definitions of fast-food establishments stipulate that fast food includes any business where “customers order food at a service counter, payment is made at the time the food and drink is received, and/or food is predominantly served in disposable containers or receptacles,” according to the newly approved ordinance.
Jim Otto noted, Carol Ann’s Pizza is an establishment where people order food at a front counter, which is delivered to them at their table. Otto also suggested adding language that would clarify the village’s position on these types of restaurants, which he felt do not fall under the fast-food category.
Even so, Carol Ann’s, or any existing Subway or McDonald’s, do not have to worry about the changes in Richfield’s ordinances.
“The creation of these ordinances wouldn’t affect any of the existing businesses in the village of Richfield,” said Healy. In essence, the existing restaurants would be grandfathered in, and the ordinance would apply only to new businesses.
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