What’s next for Chapati?

Earlier this week I sent the following message to the NDDC Board of Directors. It seems like a good idea to share it now with a wider audience of NDDC members.

What’s Next for Chapati?
On Monday night, June 21st, the Northfield City Council will make a decision on the request of Chapati: A Taste of India restaurant to make a change to the Future Land Use Map in the City’s Comprehensive Plan and a change in the zoning for 1001 Division Street. Norman Butler, owner of Chapati, has said that if he cannot relocate his restaurant to that building which he recently purchased, he will have to close his business. Perhaps the Council will make a decision that determines the fate of Chapati.

As most of you know, Chapati has been a successful restaurant in Northfield for five years. It is a business that not only brings Northfielders downtown, but it brings Minnesotans to Northfield. It would be a great loss to our community if the restaurant closes.

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation exists to advocate for a vital and sustainable downtown. Many of us believe that this includes advocating for individual businesses.

The time to communicate with your Council members on this issue is NOW . Several of them have told us that the private communication from ward members before the council meeting is what primarily determines their vote at the meeting. We are urging you to contact Council members before Monday night.

We believe that there are a number of points, beyond economic vitality, that can be made in support of Chapati’s request. They include: the historical precedent of the intersection of Woodley and Division being 50-100% non-residential continually back to at least the early 1940s, the need to expand downtown to serve our expanding community, the compatible mix of residential and commerical uses that has been so valuable in other communities, and the fact that the Comp Plan cannot anticipate every possibility for the next five to ten years.

We hope that you will contact members of the City Council and discuss this matter with them. The list of Council members with contact information can be found on the City of Northfield’s website. We urge you to make that contact before Monday night.