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Ripon clears way for retail on River Road
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A commercial project planned along River Road in the northeast area of Ripon took a step forward last Tuesday.
The Ripon City Council gave the nod on a zoning code amendment to help pave the way for the Ripon Gardens II Commercial following a public hearing.
The strip center and restaurant can be classified as Neighborhood Commercial District as long as it doesn’t exceed the total footage of 50,000 square foot, according to Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart – was recently approved by the Ripon Planning Commission.
“The Neighborhood Commercial District is intended to provide for the development of small, localized retail and service businesses that serve immediate residential neighborhoods,” Zuidervaart said in his staff report.
He pointed out that businesses with drive-through windows were not allowed in a Neighborhood Commercial District under the current municipal code.
“The original intent for this was to prohibit the traditional fast food restaurants,” added Zuidervaart, who noted that drive-through places are usually better served for highway travelers rather than localized neighborhood such as Ripon Garden II.
The zoning text amendment can expand and amend the definitions of ‘food establishments’ while allowing for specialty type drive-through services within the Neighborhood Commercial District.
“The premise of the amendment would be to allow neighborhood commercial type businesses the ability to have drive-through services, while still prohibiting the larger, more traffic intense, fast food type restaurants within neighborhood commercial districts,” Zuidervaart said.
At the public hearing – both at the Planning Commission and the City Council meetings – no one came forth to speak to comment on the proposed amendment.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail