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Halsted Rezoning Effort Delayed So Alderman Can Hear From Businesses

By  Joe Ward and Heather Cherone | July 28, 2017 5:51am | Updated on July 30, 2017 10:38am

 The effort to breathe new life into the Halsted Street commercial district dates back decades.
The effort to breathe new life into the Halsted Street commercial district dates back decades.
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BRIDGEPORT — After a plan to stop the proliferation of nail salons and massage parlors in his ward was met with skepticism from some business owners, Ald. Patrick D. Thompson (11th) said he will hold an invite-only meeting on the matter.

The alderman has been working on a plan to develop and diversify the commercial corridors in Bridgeport, especially along Halsted Street. The measure pending before the City Council's zoning committee would increase the number of businesses that would require special permission before being allowed to open.

Such changes would allow residents and officials to have more of a say in what opens in the area. But not everyone is on board.

At the July 21 meeting of the city's zoning committee, Thompson delayed the measure after about a dozen Chinatown business owners attended the meeting to testify that they were concerned about its impact.

He agreed to hear their concerns at a meeting Aug. 9 at the Valentine Boys & Girls Club, 3400 S. Emerald Ave. The meeting is invite-only, and Halsted Street property owners have been invited, a spokeswoman for Thompson said. Those not invited to the meeting can stop by or call the ward office to offer their thoughts, she said.

RELATED: Aiming to Stop New Nail Salons, Bridgeport Alderman Seeks Rules For Halsted

Thompson said his proposal is designed to give residents a say in what kind of businesses open along Halsted — and block those that are not in demand. Businesses that are not in demand include nail salons and massage parlors, Thompson said, who is not the only alderman to give those businesses a closer look.

"We want there to be a place for people to get a sandwich and have a date night," Thompson told DNAinfo in June.

Thompson said he would like Halsted Street to be a mecca for those heading out for a nice dinner and to see a show or to visit an art gallery.

"Restaurants want to cluster," Thompson said. "When a nail salon opens up, it can derail that momentum."

Thompson agreed to the meeting and told the business owners he looked forward to "having a good discussion" at the upcoming meeting.

The proposal would not effect existing businesses, Thompson said.

"I don't want to hurt anyone's business," he said.