There is a major question being asked during May and June that is vital to the future of downtown Northfield: Is downtown Northfield at the physical limits of its size? If not, in what direction(s) will downtown Northfield expand in the coming years?
The owners of Chapati: A Taste of India restaurant are hoping to relocate their restaurant to 1001 Woodley after closing their current location in the Archer House on June 30th, 2004. They have purchased the buildings formerly used by the Northfield Senior Center and the Community Action Center. The zoning for this site is R-2 at the present time. That is zoning that allows 1 and 2 family residential use only. The site needs to be zoned for commercial use in order for a restaurant to granted a permit by the City of Northfield. There is a detailed description of this story in the Northfield News dated April 24, 2004.
The intersection of Woodley and Division has had one or more commercial uses continually for decades. There is currently a service station, Northfield Auto Care, operating on the northwest corner. The southwest corner has had a succession of retail operations over the years though it currently does not have a commercial tenant.
The 700 block of Division has multiple commercial enterprises, the 800 block has at least two commercial operations (Touchette Sales and Service and The Magic Door bed and breakfast), and the 900 block has the gas station. The intersection of Woodley and Division is one of the busiest vehicle intersections in Northfield and with the opening of the new Northfield Middle School on the southern edge of Northfield, traffic will increase dramatically beginning in September 2004.
The Northfield Planning Commission will debate this issue at two public meetings and then pass on its recommendation to the City Council. The Planning Commission meetings are scheduled for May 25th and June 8th. Both meetings begin at 7 pm. The City Council will debate this issue also at two meetings, June 21st and July 12th. Those meetings begin at 7 pm. The July 12th meeting will produce the ultimate decision.