Economic Development Commission (EDC)
Economic Development Commission
c/o Department of Economic & Community Development
611 Old Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
The Economic Development Commission is tasked with the promotion and development of the economic resources of the Town of Fairfield.
The Economic Development Commission generally meets the first Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. both virtually and in the second floor conference room in Old Town Hall, 611 Old Post Road.
All schedules and locations are subject to change. Please check the Town Meetings Calendar for cancellations or location changes.
Proposal to Expand Outdoor Dining Areas
The Fairfield Economic Development Commission is proposing changes to the Town’s Zoning Regulations to support our local restaurant industry and to allow for expanded outdoor dining opportunities.
The overall intent of these changes is to make it easier for restaurants to establish and expand outdoor dining opportunities, and to lessen parking requirements for doing so. The Town Plan & Zoning Commission is expected to consider these changes later this year.
What changes are being proposed?
- To allow restaurants to have up to 575 square feet of outdoor dining space without making any provision for additional off-street parking. Currently the limit is set at 150 square feet.
- Eliminate provisions that require three-quarters of customer seating to be located within an enclosed building.
- Change the definition of outdoor dining “season” to allow greater flexibility for restaurants to use outdoor dining areas as weather conditions and patron demand permits. Currently, the Town defines the outdoor dining season between April 1st and October 30th.
Aren’t there currently state provisions in place that maintain some of the ideas proposed?
Earlier this year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a measure that extends expanded outdoor dining statewide through the April 2023. The Town supported this legislation. However, these measures are temporary and will expire early next year. Businesses need greater certainty as to the regulatory framework going forward so that they can better plan and make long-term investment decisions.
What are the benefits to expanding outdoor dining?
Outdoor dining has proven to be popular with restaurateurs and the public alike. Many people prefer to dine al fresco, which can provide important health benefits. Outdoor dining helps create a more vibrant streetscape and promotes pedestrian activity. And, outdoor dining has been essential to supporting an industry that has been hard hit by the pandemic. In a survey of Fairfield restaurants, 75% of restaurant owners responded that outdoor dining was crucial to the business’ survival over the past several years. Over 80% of survey respondents expressed interest in making some of the expanded outdoor dining provisions from the pandemic permanent.
How can you help?
The Town Plan & Zoning Commission is expected to take up these proposed changes later this year. You can support these changes and sign the petition here.
For more information about outdoor dining and the proposed changes, please contact the Office of Community & Economic Development at (203) 256-3120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.