San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez has introduced legislation requiring that neighbors be notified whenever a formula retail store or restaurant seeks to open in their neighborhood. Residents would have the option of requesting a public hearing and formal review by the Planning Commission. Continue reading
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As big box stores and chain retailers consume more and more undeveloped land, polluted runoff from their parking lots is placing an ever greater burden on the nation’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Storm water control measures and filtration systems produce only modest improvement, according to experts. A better solution is to channel commerce back into compact downtowns and neighborhood business districts, which are far less polluting. Continue reading
In an effort to prevent further consolidation of small storefronts into large chain outlets along the Third Street Promenade, the city of Santa Monica has adopted an ordinance that limits stores to no more than 50 linear feet of street frontage. The City Council has also directed city staff to compile data on the number of formula businesses in the district and draft options for limiting their proliferation.
"Secede from Starbucks Nation" is the tagline of a new advertising campaign by the small town of Excelsior, Minnesota. The tongue-and-cheek ads take jabs at chain stores and promote Excelsior as a place where one-of-a-kind, locally owned businesses are embraced.
"When . . . a large development wants to be in your town, you see the tax values surrounding that. . . I think the tendency is to think this is really going to give us a solid foundation," George Fowler, mayor of Pineville, North Carolina, told the Charlotte Observer. "But you don’t realize at that particular point the impact it’s going to have on the services you have to provide."
Big retailers are increasingly coming under fire from small and mid-sized manufacturers. Last month, more than 1,000 employees and owners of small manufacturing firms attended a rally in Connecticut to denounce Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, and other chains for forcing large manufacturers to move their factories to China. Continue reading
By forming alliances, independent businesses can regain their central role in our economy. Continue reading
Several Oregon communities are hindering Wal-Mart’s growth. The retailer wants to open new stores in ten locations around the state, but has been blocked in two communities and is facing organized opposition in at least five more.
In Hillsboro, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to reject a proposed supercenter. Hundreds of residents turned out at public hearings to argue the store would inundate the area with traffic and harm nearby neighborhoods.
At the urging of a broad group of residents and local business owners, the Tampa City Council voted unanimously in June to reject a proposal to level a neighborhood shopping center to make way for a Walgreen pharmacy and a bank. The shopping center is currently home to nine locally owned businesses, including three restaurants, a fitness center, beauty parlor, and laundry.
A developer sought to tear down the center, annex parts of two residential properties, and construct a large, box-like Walgreen’s and a bank.
Residents of Stoughton, Wisconsin, have come together under the banner "Uff-da Wal-Mart" to fight the company’s plans to turn a nearby cornfield into a massive supercenter. Uff-da is a Norwegian expression of disdain.
In mid-July, Uff-da Wal-Mart scored a significant victory when the City Council adopted a 90-day moratorium on big box retail development. The ordinance temporarily bans development of stores larger than 50,000 square feet.