Why are there no drive-through restaurants in town?
The town of Ridgefield does not allow food to be sold via drive-through windows. It’s permitted for banks and pharmacies—but not food. “It doesn’t fit the character of Ridgefield,” says Betty Brosius, the town’s director of Planning. “The prohibition goes way back—long before I started here.”
The Planning & Zoning Commission last revisited the issue, she says, in 2007 and saw no reason to change it. “One of the fast-food chains—Burger King or McDonald’s—inquired about having a drive-through back in 2003 or 2004,” she says. Ultimately, the chain opted not to pursue opening in Ridgefield because of sewage issues —and the inability to have a drive-through.
The two main reasons the commission has decided against allowing restaurants and delis to sell via drive-throughs are “traffic-circulation issues” and trash, says Brosius. “People throw out cups and bags and other trash around the drive-ups.” Which, presumably, they tend not to do at banks or pharmacies.
Currently two pharmacies have drive-through service: Walgreen’s on Route 35 and Grove Street and Rite Aid in Copps Hill. “The banks that have applied for them have not had problems with traffic circulation,” says Brosius. Adds Rebecca Mucchetti, chairman of Ridgefield’s Planning & Zoning Commission: “The parcels of land are surprisingly small along Route 7, so there is really no land capacity for a drive-through.”
Mucchetti feels that allowing a drive-through downtown would “take away from the village feel and make it more like a strip mall.”