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Coronado, Cal. Ordinance Curbs “Formula” Retail

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 1, 2001 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

In December, the city of Coronado, Cal. adopted an ordinance restricting the proliferation of formula retail businesses. The ordinance notes that the unregulated addition of such businesses would frustrate the city’s goal of maintaining a unique and diverse retail base, and limit opportunities for small, local retailers.

Formula retail businesses are defined as those “required by contractual or other arrangement to maintain any of the following: standardized. . . array of services and/or merchandise, trademark, logo, service mark, symbol, decor, architecture, layout, uniform, or similar standardized feature.”

The ordinance requires that formula retail businesses obtain a special use permit from the city. Approval hinges on demonstrating that the store will contribute to an appropriate balance of local, regional, or national-based businesses and appropriate balance of small, medium, and large-sized businesses. Formula businesses must be compatible with surrounding uses and occupy no more than 50 linear feet of street frontage.

Coronado, an island community of 20,000 in southern California, already limits the number of formula restaurants allowed in the city to ten.

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.  She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

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