Six weeks after an advisory referendum won broad support from residents, the Ocean Beach, California, planning board voted 8-to-4 in early May 2002 to recommend that the city council adopt an ordinance banning all formula restaurants and retail businesses.
Ocean Beach is a neighborhood of San Diego with a population of about 15,000. Each of the city's neighborhoods has its own master plan and elected planning board. The boards have representation on the citywide planning commission and also make recommendations to the city council, which has final say over zoning changes.
The city council and city planner are not enthusiastic about the formula business restriction. Supporters say the council is unlikely to place the measure on its agenda until the fall at the earliest. The council may even hold consideration of the measure until the city's new comprehensive plan is complete, a process that will take two years.
Last year, hundreds of residents came out to protest plans for a Starbucks coffee shop on the community's main street, Newport Avenue. As far as anyone can remember, there has never been a chain store on Newport Avenue. Residents have successfully fought chain stores since the late 1970s. Starbucks, however, was willing to ignore protests and pay double the going rate for retail space. With the site zoned for retail, residents were unable to stop the store from opening.
But they continued organizing. Working under the name Save Ocean Beach, the citizens group gathered signatures to place a formula business referendum on the March ballot. The measure reads:
Source: Home Town Advantage e-Bulletin May 2002 edition.
For more details see Save Ocean Beach. Other examples of formula business ordinances are available at Institute for Local Self-Reliance.