COMMUNITY COMMENT: Building Falls Church Together

February 15, 2012

As residents of Falls Church, we are incredibly fortunate.  We are the beneficiaries of earlier generations who decades ago created something special – a small, personal place with great schools. Great local institutions were created around that concept, like Citizens for a Better City (CBC) and the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS), which have made our home even better.

And we are fortunate in other ways.  By geography, we have incredible assets.  Land within the Capital Beltway.   I-66 and I-495, two Metro stations, two airports, and the crossroads of two major thoroughfares – Leesburg Pike and Lee Highway.  We are one of the most affluent and best educated communities in the nation.  And we are surrounded by some of the best examples of new urban development in the country.  If utilized properly, through thoughtful planning and development, all of these assets can make our future even brighter.

High-quality development, however, has not always been our history.  Stretches of our main street are home to haphazard buildings and tired storefronts, there is a lack of good public pedestrian space, and there is an abundance of asphalt parking lots.  What we need is 21st Century planning that proactively addresses these issues and incorporates the spirit of the community.

Sidewalk cafes at Shirlington.

For the past several years a number of us on the City’s Economic Development Authority have been pushing for “Area Planning,” also known as “Sector Planning”.   I wrote on this topic in an earlier article in the Falls Church Times in  2010.  Since then we are fortunate that Jim Snyder agreed to become the City’s Planning Director, and that the current Council has made Area Planning a priority.  Snyder is a world-class planner previously working  in Arlington who is now laying the foundation for Falls Church City’s first Area Plan, focused on North Washington Street.  The development of this plan, and others to follow targeting the West End, Broad Street and areas near Seven Corners, is extremely important if we are to take full advantage of the assets we have inherited.

As Jim and his team do their work, the community needs to develop a vision of where it wants to go.  One thing that can help is to look at the experience of other communities.  Here are some places we can evaluate as we move forward.

Shirlington is an area far removed from any Metro station, but it has become a very dynamic place to live, work or enjoy dinner and a movie. Its strengths are a pedestrian-friendly area that supports restaurants, shops, and an artsy movie theater within a few compact blocks. The entire area was achieved through significant planning and related efforts on the part of Arlington County. The small scale of Shirlington makes it an especially good example for Falls Church City.

Clarendon Market Commons

Clarendon shares some characteristics with Shirlington, preferring small shops and ethnic restaurants over shopping malls.  Its progressive design, mix of retail, and availability of mass transit makes the area attractive to young professionals.


Bethesda. Downtown Bethesda really came to life with Bethesda Row, built in phases beginning in the early 1990’s by Federal Realty Investment Trust.  Bethesda Row was a revitalization of a suburban commercial area into a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly downtown.  The design of the area and mix of uses provides a great example of how a downtown area can go through a complete transformation.

Ballston took a different approach and tried to create a “downtown” feel, with a greater emphasis on high-density office and residential, a shopping mall and hotels.  Many people think Ballston is too big for a comparison with Falls Church City, and I agree.  But still there are lessons we can take from Ballston and apply on a smaller scale.  For example, Ballston has achieved a nearly 50/50 balance between office and residential uses, which drives a significant portion of Arlington’s tax base.  Further, they are incorporating more street-level retail to enrich the area, and the County has modified its roads in the area to make them more pedestrian-friendly.

buy cigarettes online
Considering these successfully planned areas, I believe a few key principles emerge as essential to our own planning efforts.

1. Develop the Vision, Allow for Variation.  We need to establish a vision for the City’s commercial areas, but still allow variation between them.  The areas near the East Falls Church and West Falls Church Metro stations, as well as the area near Seven Corners, have the best chance at attracting office space because of their proximity to Metro.  Areas along Broad Street, on the other hand, which have more limited land and are farther from public transit, could be more focused on a retail and residential mix.  South Washington has critical mass of land, is centrally located, and is buffered from most neighborhoods, which provides great potential for becoming our most urban and vibrant downtown area.

2.  Street Level is Important.  What happens at the street level of any new building is really important. This is the part of a development that people experience the most.  Both the “design” and “use” of this space is critical.  First-floor retail should be included in all new developments in our commercial areas, providing neighborhoods with amenities, encouraging pedestrian activity and attracting employers.  There should be high-quality design standards to ensure attractive storefronts with transparency, ventilation for restaurants, and the ability of retailers to be unique and successful.

Bethesday Row

3. Public Space is Critical.  Public space is also critical when planning an area.  Good urban public spaces have wide sidewalks, quality street furniture (benches, bike racks, etc.), well-spaced tree pits, pedestrian-scale lighting, and interesting art and signage throughout.  Travel lane widths should be squeezed down to 10-11 feet to slow car traffic and make room for bike lanes or on-street parking.  There should be more frequent and well-marked pedestrian crosswalks, sometimes even mid-block, and sidewalk bump-outs at crossings to emphasize the pedestrian over the vehicle.  Long stretches of sidewalk along Broad Street are too narrow and have long, raised planters that limit space for street furniture and pedestrian activity.  This actually encourage cars to travel faster.  It is not the design we want moving forward – we can do much better.

4.  Mix of Uses Creates Energy.  We need a mix of uses to help energize each area and to help build a commercial market in Falls Church. This means office, retail, hotel and yes, residential.  But any new residential construction should be designed for young professionals in order to limit the impact on schools.  Units should be smaller with a focus on one-bedrooms and studios.  Residential is still needed in a newly-planned area, as residents will support the retail in the evening while the office employees support it during the day.  Moreover, it attracts employers wanting to locate close to where young professionals live.

5.  Transportation Is Crucial.  Transportation is a crucial component of any area plan. For the North Washington area, for example, we absolutely must support the concept of the western gateway entrance to the East Falls Church Metro station, which Arlington proposed in its earlier planning efforts. This would significantly shorten the walking distance to the North Washington area and downtown Falls Church City.  We also need to contemplate future streetcar service, currently being planned and implemented in Arlington, Fairfax and D.C.

I think these principles are important and will serve us well.  But I also believe it is critical for planners to hear from others in the community regarding their values and desires.  Any successful planning effort must be a joint partnership between jurisdiction, developers and residents.  Creating this partnership and laying the foundation for a strong path forward is the real value of Area Planning, and I encourage all Falls Church residents to let their views be known.

Mike Novotny is a real estate development professional, a member of the Falls Church Economic Development Authority, and served on the City’s Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee.


February 15, 2012 


32 Responses to “COMMUNITY COMMENT: Building Falls Church Together”

  1. Robert Redding Falls Church on February 15th, 2012 10:28 am

    I agree totally with this article. However, construction of the Northgate on S. Washington St. has temporarily created a pedestrian hazard, as people who walk from the East Falls Church Metro are forced to cross Washington Street to the west side since the sidewalk in front of the site is blocked. A wooden tunnel would have been a safer option than blocking the sidewalk with fencing.

  2. Barry Buschow on February 15th, 2012 1:48 pm

    Another great article Mike, for a long time we have known that DESIGN Rules. The VPIS N. Washington Street Study in the early 90’s pointed to these design issues. However, the concept of area planning was discussed many years ago, except nothing happenned. Having Jim at the Helm of planning is something we MUST take advantage of now…..Good work, keep it going……

  3. Brian Williams (City of Falls Church) on February 15th, 2012 6:03 pm

    YES! As a resident and business owner in the city, I’m in full support of these ideas, and I appreciate the efforts of Mike and many others to make them a reality. This city will transform over the next 10 years one way or another, and it’s up to the residents to engage, help shape the plan, and support the work that will be required to attract the kind of change we want.

    I’m curious to hear the response to Mike’s article. Is there a consistent “ideal future” among the residents, or a lot of disagreement? I’m sure we won’t all agree on every detail, but is there still a large portion that would prefer no new development at all (and the financial implications of that approach)?

  4. TFC on February 15th, 2012 8:16 pm

    I live near Northgate. I attended the discussion on the area development in the winter. I like the plans for the current and future projects. They look sophisticated, elevations are graduated and I think they will be a welcome change from the current look when folks enter the City from 66 and Lee Highway.
    No one plan will please everyone

  5. mel watson on February 15th, 2012 8:33 pm

    I don’t mean to be the cynic – – but come on. I grew up in the City and have lived here for many years. Quit raising the expectations. If I didn’t know any better I would think by reading this it was 20 years ago. I give you credit for dreaming. But come to terms with reality. Falls Church City does not have it within itself in terms of the will, financial resources, etc. to come close to anything like this. Come on – – wake up! It took years to come to an agreement on things like a Taco Bell. How about the Chicken Out or other businesses, vacant buildings, etc. where it took months if not years to result in even demolition. Wait for the next bank or two, maybe a jewelry store, and declare victory. Maybe things will change but not during the lifetime of many of us.

  6. Brian Williams (City of Falls Church) on February 15th, 2012 9:25 pm

    Mel — I’ve often heard the perspective that we’ve never been able to do it in the past, so we won’t be able to do it in the future. But *why* haven’t we been able to do it in the past? When you say the city doesn’t have the “will, financial resources, etc.” what do you mean exactly? What financial resources are required from the city to attract this kind of development? That’s a real question for anyone to answer — my understanding is that with the right sector plan in place and efficient city operations, there’s no major financial “investment” that the city would be required to make.

    In terms of “will” … well, that’s what we’re talking about here. Getting the residents behind a comprehensive plan that makes it clear what kind of development we want and will efficiently approve as a community.

    I’m optimistic that things can change. We need to think about this central issue as we elect city council members, fill the relevant boards (EDA, planning commission), and evaluate city staff positions.

  7. mel watson on February 15th, 2012 9:47 pm

    Brian – I don’t know how else to express it….it is not within the will of the City as a whole to come close to anything like this…..meaning we don’t want it that badly, we don’t want to change that much. It is simply not the culture of the City . As the demographics of City change,yes there is more likelihood. I don’t know how long you have lived here but I invite you to look at old articles, studies, plans….and you will see little difference between what was talked about or proposed by some in the 1980s (if not before) very similar to what is being talked about now. I applaud you for your optimisim but I sense that you are not very familar with what you and we are up against….we have changed elected officials, boards, commissioners….I don’t want to sound like a defeatest but it might be easier moving the corner of City Hall than to bring about change like this. Outside influences and changing demographics, however, will eventually bring about change.

  8. Brian Williams (City of Falls Church) on February 15th, 2012 10:36 pm

    Thanks, Mel. I grew up in N. Va but have only lived in Falls Church City for a few years, so I’m not too familiar with the past, but I’m always trying to learn more. Certainly much has changed right around Falls Church in the last 30 years (even the last 10) and that’s part of what gives me hope.

  9. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on February 15th, 2012 11:05 pm

    I’ve lived in the City since 2008 and have often heard Mel’s sentiment (either directly from people who share it – or others suggesting that the sentiment is prevalent).

    We’re talking about a lot of things here – but one fundamental issue is the density of commercial development. It seems to me inevitable that eventually the commercial parts of the City will be more densely developed than they are today. Look around – there is greater density on all sides of us and it will only continue to go in that direction.

    So, it’s not so much a question of “if” but rather “when” and “how.” If we don’t plan for it then the “when” will be later and the “how” will be haphazard.

    I think the outside influences and changing demographics that Mel mentions are going to bring about change sooner than later.

  10. Lawrence Webb on February 16th, 2012 10:16 am

    Mel- I have before and since joining council have had your very sentiment about development here in the city. I have seen a lot of the different plans that you speak and many where very good. But I must agree with Brian and Andy that what is being presented is what the city needs. I have said many times ask the question of why we have such a hard time attracting development and business here to Falls Church being close to two metro lines, a short drive into DC and about 25 minutes for an international airport. Part of the problem is that it’s been an uphill struggle to get buy in from the public on several of the projects that have been proposed. With this current area plan process being done and have Jim Snyder who has done this type for many years in Arlington I think we have a great opportunity here. Also it’s about adding density but adding it in the right locations in the city. With the changing demographics of the city I think we are at a critical point that we must take advantage of which we have not in the past. The city is beginning to again have interest expressed from developers and by having these area plans being done and getting support from citizens early in the process I truly believe that we will be able to implement these plans instead of adding them to the many other plans that have been presented and have gone nowhere.

  11. Michael Novotny on February 16th, 2012 1:37 pm

    Mel, I really appreciate your perspective and encourage you to bring that to bear with the current planning process…it will only help to ensure it gets done this time. I have lived in the DC area for the past 16 years, the last four in Falls Church, and have witnessed some pretty incredible transformations in areas outside of Falls Church where they started with some very good, and often bold, planning.

    It does takes time – a lot of time – for an area to redevelop. A single building takes four years at a minimum and often much longer to complete (from land purchase to entitlements, design, construction and finally lease-up). But I agree with other commenters, it will happen (and is already happening to a limited degree…think recently-built Pearson Square, Spectrum, under-construction Northgate, etc.).

    A key question is do we want to lay the groundwork for what we’re looking for and do our absolute best to attract high-quality coherent development, or should we wait around for individual land owners/developers to bring their own visions forward and hope they’re good or else have a big struggle over it (which has been our history)?

    Another key question, if we do a good job developing an area plan, does that help to build interest from the development community and accelerate everything? As a member of that community I think it absolutely does, and I hope the CIty and residents will continue trying to turn the dream into something very real.

  12. TFC on February 16th, 2012 2:44 pm

    I have lived here since 1958. There used to be a pretty viral group of anti-development folks that were very vocal. I hope the times have changed a bit. I think we can come up with ideas that bring vibrancy to our City and bring in some needed tax revenue. It takes willingness to consider the ideas and provide reasoned input. Hope that’s not too tall an order.

  13. Four4FC on February 16th, 2012 5:47 pm

    Mike, great article.

    I really like the ideas presented. I have to ask: have you thought about running for City Council? The Little City needs help and we could use someone like you!

    I’m afraid Mel’s vision will be the one that reigns unless we get rid of the do-nothings on Council now, and infuse it with fresh people who have that bold vision you are talking about and the will to make it happen.

    I, too, have lived in the City for a number of years, and have heard many city council campaign promises of vibrant development and commercial tax base increases, only to see, once the candidate gets elected, a complete reversal of their previous “platforms” – and instead of supporting quality development and lowering our taxes with an infusion of commercial revenue, they waste their time on petty issues, moving us backwards, not forward – undoing the work of previous councils, getting us embroiled in law suits with Fairfax County and cooking up referendums like the failed one against the election date change.

    Look at the last 4 years: How has our current City Council actually moved our City forward? Is it good enough? Do we want something better?

    I know I do – and I think people like you, Mike, would help us achieve some of the things you talk about in your article. So I hope you’ll think about running for Council!

  14. mel watson on February 16th, 2012 6:16 pm

    Folks – – many of you are devoted folks with a vision which I applaud. Yes, we can point to certain projects. But those projects are clearly not enough and do we forget how long it took for some of these projects. Yes, we are experiencing a terrible recession, which has crippled any signficant development. But putting all that aside, after we all sober up after viewing the latest drawing do we really think anything dramatic is going to happen anytime soon. I am not saying the sketch at hand is the solution…..maybe it is or maybe it is not…maybe simply too dramatic for some folks – – including me….not sure But look at the track record of the City. Also look at what is going on around us….with Merrified, East Falls Church on the Arlington side, Tysons to the west, 7 Corners to the east.

    Where I am going with this as I shift to taxes and my own situation looking forward – – and this is not anything new – I fall into the category of having lived here a long time, graduated from the school system like my son. Paid my share of taxes. I am getting close to retirement. I still have a mortgage and am not wealthy. And I don’t quality for subsistence. What is the City planners and policyh makers doing for folks like me, in the middle so to speak, to develop a much more robust commerical tax base – – so we don’t have to move elsewhere. I know it is tough to strike the right balance.

  15. Paul Handly on February 17th, 2012 11:28 am


    What a terrific, comprehensive article.

    Mel’s perspective is understandable but experience has shown that if we do not clearly define a comprehensive vision for the future of our “Little City”, we’ll almost certainly end up with more drive-thru banks which, like surface parking, represent the lowest, worst use of limited space in our community.

    One thing we do need is more experienced planners (paid and volunteer) on staff so we are better prepared to shape the discussion about and ultimate execution of development in our city. Development will happen, the question is do we want “complete streets”, and comprehensive “area plans” created within a sustainable regional context that make our city a great place to live, work and play or do we want ad hoc, reactionary “plans” that will certainly do more to destroy the unique “small town in the big city” feel that is so valuable to our residents?

  16. SJM on February 21st, 2012 12:39 pm

    How can this city dream big when in our battle cry is we are the “Little City” …we will never be a big vibrant city center that people want to visit. I have lived here for 18 years and it is the same song every year. We moved the post office to a location that makes it impossible to access, we shut down a local coffee shop to make a vacant lot while re-habbing a bank for the 3rd time. It is easier to go to Tysons or Ballston or Claredon or Courthouse than it is to find non-towing parking or a bike rack for local business in Falls Church. This city better wake up and take advantage of one of the largest transportation spending projects Northern VA has seen in years (the silver line) and get moving on attracting those visitors, otherwise we will be known as the transfer station…not a destination.

  17. Robert Thomas, Falls Church on February 21st, 2012 1:18 pm

    SJM – this is crazy. The post office moved itself. Park downstairs and you’ll find it is easy-in-easy-out. The Two Sisters coffee shop closed because one of the owners moved away. I am not sure what bank is behing rehabbed. I am not sure what business you want to visit that tows your car automatically. Taking advantage of the Silver Line transfer station traffic, which is located in Arlington, is a great idea. What do you suggest?

  18. Lou Mauro on February 21st, 2012 4:17 pm

    SJM alludes to one all-important point, i.e., the other places mentioned favorably in Mike Novotny’s conceptualization (I hesitate to call it a plan)— Shirlingon, Clarendon, and Bethesda Row, has an ample amount of precisely what the City lacks: municipal PARKING. Check them out for yourselves. There should be no further development of any kind in this City until parking is provided first.

  19. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on February 21st, 2012 5:10 pm

    SJM’s comment is interesting to me. He/she starts by saying we’ll never be a big vibrant city center (which I think is a dig at the foundation of the article – which is that we continue doing the kind of planning necessary to make the City more vibrant) and then wraps up by pointing out that the Silver Line is coming and development will follow it. But isn’t that Mike’s point – development is coming, let’s plan for it the right way and maybe we’ll finally be able to succeed when we haven’t been able to in the past.

    I guess I don’t understand what SJM is suggesting – should we just give up?

    Lou, parking is a great topic! There do seem to be a lot of examples where municipal parking has been a key ingredient in successful development. In Falls Church people seem to be split on the issue. I wonder if we could pull together some kind of a community event where the pros and cons are discussed – I’d love to understand the details of the issue better.

  20. TheBoss on February 21st, 2012 6:08 pm

    Actually I thought that both the Post Office moving and the closing of Two Sisters were part of the plan to redevelop those two parcels. Something that obviously never happened.

  21. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on February 22nd, 2012 12:32 am

    While the old post office’s parking lot and the lot with the Two Sisters coffee shop were supposed to be part of the City Center project I don’t think the project caused them to move. Well, I know for a fact that it didn’t cause the Two Sisters business to move – Robert is correct that one of the owners moved away.

    Since the postal service’s sorting operations moved out of the old building only a couple of weeks ago I’m pretty sure the retail operation wasn’t moved due to the City Center plan.

  22. TheBoss on February 22nd, 2012 1:24 pm

    Found this:

    “The end of 2 Sisters was precipitated both by Harrison’s decision to move away and by the City’s push to vacate both the coffee shop land and the adjoining post office parking lot (which is why the post office had to relocate). Ironically, with the departure of both 2 Sisters and the Post Office, there is now no firm timetable for doing anything with the vacant land.”

  23. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on February 23rd, 2012 1:17 pm

    TheBoss – read my comments under that article, they’re still as accurate today as they were then. The City did not encourage the Two Sisters to close shop and if anything tried to do a lot to keep them around.

    I’m not as familiar with the post office situation.

  24. Dan Maller, City of Falls Church on February 23rd, 2012 2:55 pm

    Great piece Mike. In order to get anywhere we need to start with a real vision, and then let the denizens of “reality” chip await at the vision. There really is broad agreement on WHAT we need, that is more commercial tax-generating activity, the thing we need to discuss is HOW to bring it about. Lou Mauro mentioned one thing the City can do – focus on PARKING. Of course, parking is just one way to get people out of their cars and onto their feet in sufficient concentration to spend money, but for the immediate future we will have 35,000 cars on Broad Street every day, and providing a welcoming place to let a few of them stop seems right neighborly. Personally I support direct public investment in strategically-placed structured parking, but others may support more nuanced approaches. Either way, there is little question that the #1 limitation on commercial development here is the lack of space to put cars vs. the need for cars to bring enough people. I also support a major effort to plan for streetcars because this will allow us to achieve development and preserve green space without the land use contortions created by auto-centric 20th century public policies. I know, all very unrealistic, unless you can imagine a different future.

  25. SJM on February 27th, 2012 3:27 pm

    Andy…the point is, we should have already started development, we are basically playing catch up to the communities around us thus not offering anyting new and unique to attract people to come to Falls Church.

  26. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on February 27th, 2012 9:20 pm

    SJM, I don’t disagree that we’re playing catch up – I think that’s what Mike is encouraging us to do. I’m still not sure what you’re suggesting we should do differently from what Mike is talking about.

  27. Barry Buschow on February 29th, 2012 12:17 pm

    We already have an identity if we would just endorse it and nourish it: The Arts with wonderful Restaurants and niche small businesses…..Lets add a helping of parking, pedestrian friendliness and incentives to bring entrepreneurs that will invest.

  28. Paul Handly on March 1st, 2012 9:37 am

    What terrific discussion.

    I agree with Barry that we need to nourish our identity as a home for the arts, nice restaurants. Come out tonight to the ’80s dance party at the Creative Cauldron to support ArtSpace Falls Church. I came to the city for the schools and stayed because of the community. Our future rests on our ability to nourish and market the special nature of our community.

    I support a version of Dan’s streetcar idea. Two lines. One up and back on 7 and the other up and back on 29 (Washington St). No rails, just a trolly like King St. Keep the trolly moving back and forth. Part of the reason George was a dud was because it was a circulator that took an hour to cross town. Our goal should be no more than 15 minutes wait at any trolly stop.

    I am a huge supporter of a construction of a public parking structure. We cannot rely solely on the good will of private property owners to support our city’s parking needs. Combine the public parking with an expanded/updated library and consolidated city offices. Put the parking near but not on the Broad street corridor and leverage the trolly to help the pedestrians take advantage of all the City has to offer.

  29. Dave Witzel on March 1st, 2012 9:45 am

    Thanks for sparking the conversation Mike. I figure we can go ahead and dream – while we’re dreaming Arlington is going to decide for us with their East Falls Church development. Our choice is to play or not. May be better to wake up…

    One tiny suggestion – can we get in on the Capital Bikeshare program? Shared bike racks at EFC, WFC, the Giant parking lot, and Brown’s hardware would provide some great low-cost, low-impact transport.

  30. John D. Lawrence on March 1st, 2012 10:25 am

    Dave: I started asking Planning staff about Bikeshare a while ago because I see the bikes used so much in DC. Bottom line is that we’ve had talks with Bikeshare, but the sticking point is WMATA because they are the ones who decide when and where to put them in for Metro stations and they haven’t figured out what to do for EFC or WFC yet. My focus would be getting it so that people can get to the Metro as a first step. Also, the stands are expensive. I’d start with bikes near apartments to encourage people to bike to Metro. But my point is that we’ve been in such discussions for months now, so things are moving.

    If we were looking to get a sort of intracity network going first I’d put one at Eden Center in addition to your great suggestions.

  31. John D. Lawrence on March 1st, 2012 1:27 pm

    One correction. For EFC, Arlington would have to put it in, not WMATA, although I’m sure approvals are needed. But they’d likely not do it there unless Falls Church also did it given our location. But we need to find the money. Up-front costs would be $200,000+ (for five stations) and then there’s about another $70,000/year in monthly fees (a fixed rate per station). We’d recoup some through membership fees, but our costs would be real money and we should find it, especially as we get more density.

  32. Fiona Apple, Falls Church on August 20th, 2012 12:00 pm

    The post office moved to a building where they can’t even fit their trucks in to pick up and drop off mail. Really good decision making there. And if you have actually driven inside the bottom level of that parking garage you know it’s very difficult to negotiate.

    Robert Thomas of Falls Church. IF you haven’t seen the tow trucks you must not be looking hard enough. There is this fantastic event every Saturday called the Falls Church Farmers Market that the city is so proud of. Every Saturday morning there is a tow truck that hides behind the Exxon sign on N. Virginia waiting for people to park in the Famous Dave’s parking lot and then go on to the farmers market. How can we possibly expect people to come into this city to shop when prospective customers get towed all the time. What if Famous Dave’s opened their lot (which is NEVER full on Saturday morning) to farmers market shoppers. I wonder how many of those people might then stop into the restaurant for brunch after they shopped at the market? Or go to Starbucks on their way out of town.