Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Council Rejects Chain Moratorium

By Nao Braverman

The Ojai City Council was just one vote away from passing a temporary moratorium on chain stores at Tuesday night's special meeting.
Vocal residents who have long feared that chain stores will transform Ojai's historic downtown atmosphere, hurt locally owned businesses and drain dollars out of the community, told the council members they see the prospective Subway as a looming threat.
The City staff has been in the process of writing an ordinance to protect the city's historic area from proliferating chain stores, explained city manager Jere Kersnar. But the expected Subway store is proof enough that that some action needs to be taken in order to prevent chain stores from opening in Ojai while such ordinance is in the process of being researched, he said.
In preparation for the meeting, city staff wrote a temporary emergency ordinance that would prohibit building permits for the establishment of any formula retail business within the historic downtown area. The ordinance defined formula retail as a business that maintained standardized features. The ordinance would apply for 45 days and could be extended or rewritten thereafter. It also required the support of four out of five council members. As Councilwoman Sue Horgan was absent from the meeting the ordinance would only pass with a unanimous vote from the attending council.
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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This was not a good move by Devito
but a telling and transparent one.
How one minority vote can lead
the city council around by the nose
when vested interests are involved.
Sure shows where the hearts and
minds of city of Ojai are truely
located. Time for a change of course and leadership-akin to when the entire council voted a SLAPP to stop the inniative process. PL

Dana Wilson said...

I really didn't understand his vote. Any legitimate concerns that he may have could have been dealt with later, while allowing immediate protection that so many want. I don't understand his steadfast resolve to accomplish absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Joe Devito's vote was the vote of an irrational man who made up his mind before the meeting. This is how powerless people feel powerful. The more you try to reason with them, the more they dig in their heels.

Anonymous said...

you might want to check that powerlessness that you ascribe to DeVito. From where I sat, it looked like Joe had all the power when he stopped the temporary ordinance. Joe DeVito is directly responsible for a Subway being in Ojai. Subway Joe has got to GO!

Anonymous said...

Once subway's here, its here forever. go to the meeting on May 1st. be heard. Vote "no" in the OVN poll. this is our last chance to take a stand!

Anonymous said...

I did not take DeVito's vote as a no vote, but a vote of let's take our time and do it right so we do not end up in litigation over this and cost the city MORE money that it does not have.

Barbara Beck, owner, Artful Living said...

The prospect of Subway across the street from my shop has me LIVID. I opened Artful Living in the historic Montgomery House precisely because of the charm this lovely 1874 house affords. The setting and product, supplies for crafters, are consistent with the artistic expression and individuality that are hallmarks of our unique small town. How could we EVER allow the increasingly rare quality of life Ojai provides to be jeopardized by a fast food chain like Subway?!?!?
The soul of our business community is at stake. We need this moratorium before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Beck...Guess you can thank Subway indirectly for making me aware that you have such a business in that neighborhood! I do not recall ever seeing your business advertised. I would never have known about you if it weren't for Subway!

Anonymous said...

Lots of subterfuge at special meeting-from Sue Horgan's conspicuous absence so not to have a quorum, to Widders offering to rewrite inniative using stronger language. Their deception grows,not in effectiveness,but exposes desperation that so many are watching and intervening.

Anonymous said...

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FUMES...
The traffic in Ojai has become unbearable particularly in the early morning hours and in the late
afternoon when everyone is going to and from work. The situation can not be blamed on "chain stores" but rather on the invasion of new building projects including large condo complexes, housing developments and hotels. More traffic lights are needed to control traffic. Where Ojai Ave curves just before the Bank of America is a particularly dangerous situation.