Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Neufeld Submits Chain Initiative

By Nao Braverman
As word spread of a Subway sandwich shop opening in Ojai’s Arcade Plaza District, some residents wonder how many chain businesses will slide into the downtown area while the city is working on developing an ordinance to keep them out.
City manager Jere Kersnar explained that though the City Council clearly agreed that proliferating chain stores would pose a threat to the community, an ordinance to address the issue would have to be carefully researched, written and approved by the Planning Commission and council.
“We’re working on it,” he said.
In order to speed up the process, Ojai city staff called for a special meeting following the regular council meeting on Tuesday night, to discuss the possible regulation of chain stores within the city.
Council Member Rae Hanstad suggested a temporary moratorium on city permits issued to chain stores, to prevent them from opening downtown until a more comprehensive, carefully researched ordinance was in place.
Council Member Steve Olsen agreed.
“If it is legally possible to to create a moratorium that would prevent Subway from opening in that location, I support it,” he said.
Local resident Kenley Neufeld submitted a ballot initiative to the city, proposing a list of regulations that would apply to all formula retail and restaurant businesses that opened within the city limits. Among them included a 2,000 square foot floor area limit, a two-story limit and, and drive-throughs restricted entirely. Neufeld also added a definition of formula businesses which described them as stores that along with 14 other establishments maintain standardized facades, decor, uniforms, color schemes or signs.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The tuesday city council meeting was underreported by the OVNews- standing room only for local citizens speaking out about chain stores invading downtown Ojai. Business leaders spoke as well as civic minded neighbors and everyone else who cares about the tradition of locally owned and operaterated business.It has been many council meetings that folks have come to show the council how they want the community to resemble the small charming locale that it is and not
a lesser version of everywhere else, USA. On the surface the city council seems to get it, yet look at the decisions being made needing citizen intervention,where, once again constituents remind the council to do their jobs and represent Ojai. As with water,housing, crime, and revenue from tourism,the city council needs to show common sense, collective
wisdom and democratic process on these important quality of life issues, and not simply a knee jerk
reaction everytime their critics
show up in force at council meetings. PL