Formula Business Restriction – Nantucket, MA

The following warrant article, barring formula businesses from downtown Nantucket, was adopted at a town meeting in April 2006.


ARTICLE 42 (Zoning Bylaw Amendment: Formula Business Overlay District)

Part 1: To see if the Town will vote to amend the zoning bylaw as follows:

Amend 139-2 Definitions and Word Usage by adding:

FormulaBusiness – A type of retail sales establishment, restaurant, tavern, bar, or take-out food establishment which along with 14 or more other establishments maintains two or more of the following features:

(1) Standardized menu or standardized array of merchandise with 50% or more of in-stock merchandise from a single distributor bearing uniform markings.

(2) Trademark or service mark, defined as a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination or words, phrases, symbols or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods from one party from those of others, on products or as part of store design.

(3) Standardized interior décor including but not limited to style of furniture, wall-coverings or permanent fixtures.

(4) Standardized color scheme used throughout the interior or exterior of the establishment.

(5) Standardized uniform including but not limited to aprons, pants, shirts, smocks or dresses, hat, and pins (other than name tags).

Amend 139-3E Districts Enumerated by adding:

Formula Business Overlay District (FBOD)

Amend 139-9 A. 1 as follows:

Retail sales, including on premises light manufacturing or fabrication clearly ancillary to the retail sales, except for Formula Business within the FBOD.

Amend 139-9 A. 4 as follows:

Restaurants, except for Formula Business within the FBOD.

Amend 139-10 B. 2 as follows:

Retail sales and personal services, except for Formula Business within the FBOD.

Amend 139-10 B. 4 as follows:

Restaurants, hotels, motels and inns, except for Formula Business within the FBOD.

Add 139-12H in Overlay Districts by adding:

H. Formula Business Overlay District (FBOD)

Statement of purpose. The purpose and intent of the Formula Business Overlay District (FBOD) is to address the adverse impact of nationwide, standardized businesses on Nantucket’s historic downtown area. The proliferation of formula businesses will have a negative impact on the island’s economy, historical relevance, and unique character. These uses are therefore prohibited in order to maintain a unique retail and dining experience. Formula businesses frustrate this goal by detracting from the overall historic island experience and threatening its tourist economy.

Part 2: And to amend the bylaws of the Town of Nantucket to allow for an administrative review process for retail licensing.

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.