Thursday, June 14, 2007

Council Extends Chain Store Moratorium

By Nao Braverman
Even before the Ojai City Council voted to extend their temporary moratorium on chain stores Tuesday night, Subway owner Dave DiTomaso decided not to open a Subway in Ojai after all.
DiTomaso said that he and the Matilija Street building owner Ernie Salomon agreed it wasn’t worth the trouble.
“I’d have to spend about $10,000 to get the architectural drawings and do preliminary work,” he said. “It didn’t make sense to put that much into it and not know if it would go through.”
Salomon had already sent a letter to Subway about a week ago, rescinding any plans for the Ojai shop, said DiTomaso.
To protect themselves from any other such applications, the Ojai City Council voted to extended the city’s temporary moratorium on chain stores until the end of April 2008. The May 1 urgency ordinance which prevents the city from issuing any building permits to formula retail stores or restaurants would have expired today.
City staff recommended extending the ordinance as long as legally possible, 10 months and 15 days, even though they expect to replace it with a permanent ordinance before that time is up.
“We don’t expect a permanent ordinance to take that long,” said city manager Jere Kersnar. “But we want to give you that maximum cushion.”
A temporary moratorium can be extended only twice, explained Kersnar. Each time at a maximum of 10 months and 15 days.
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