Here is the link to NCTV Channel 79 coverage of the Market Demand Study presentation on June 7th. Selectman candidate John Engel asked these questions following the presentation:
1. What is the vacancy rate of retail space in the downtown right now? We have census data to tell us that we have a 7.2% residential vacancy rate but no information on retail vacancies.
2. How many stores are in the downtown? And, how many of them are small, medium and large stores and how are those defined? We need metrics in order to understand the scope of the problem.
3. How many restaurants do we have? Restaurant licenses are issued and I seem to recall the number is over 80 food establishments of all types in New Canaan. How do restaurants draw traffic to the downtown and what impact does it have on shopping? On parking?
4. Is it part of the scope of the Market Study Committee to tell us how to take action, or recruit, desirable stores?
5. What tools, besides zoning changes, does the Town currently have to influence the marketability of our town?
6. Have you or will you survey the rental rates now and historically, and can that be made available to us as a tool for merchants, landlords and realtors to form a more efficient market?
7. What technologies will we have to monitor changes? From the top of my head I can suggest modern online parking meters, online traffic counters, online accessible rental databases of historical prices and vacancy rates, sales receipt databases.
8. How will an aging New Canaan population affect our Market Demand in the future?
9. Have we identified model communities from which we can glean best practices?
10. What is the effect of the Glass House on tourism? on the presence of a Metro North train station in our downtown? Are we doing all we can to leverage those two assets?