Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Casa Latina and Zoning's One Mile Rule

Casa Latina opened a few months ago at 12 Bridge Street next to Bike Express. It provides translation, travel and international parcel services to New Milford's Hispanic community. It sells DVDs, calling cards, stamps and "ethnic and cultural paraphernalia." That's all great and is an indication of the Town's cultural diversity but I have a problem with the business selling items that violate the Zoning Regs.

Section 155-020 of the Regs, commonly referred to as the One-Mile Rule, prohibit certain uses from being "located within one linear mile of each other." "Convenience markets" are one of the listed uses.

A "convenience market" is defined in the Regs as "any retail store with 5,000 square feet or less selling foodstuffs and various household supplies."

Casa Latina has a number of racks filled with Goya brand and other foods ("foodstuffs"), cleaning products like paper towels and dishwashing liquids ("various household supplies") and more.

While New Milford should be "business friendly," it must enforce its Regulations without discrimination. Many business opportunities have been turned down since the One-Mile Rule was enacted some years ago, everything from car dealerships to major food chains to smaller mom-and-pop operations.

Maybe it's time to take another look at the Rule but until such time as it is repealed, the Zoning Enforcement Officer must put an end to violations of it.

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