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San Diego Bans Supercenters

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 1, 2006 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

The San Diego City Council voted 5-3 on Tuesday to prohibit supercenters — stores that are larger then 90,000 square feet and devote more than 10 percent of their floor area to groceries.

The measure will prevent Wal-Mart and Target from opening large supercenters in the city. Wal-Mart supercenters average 187,000 square feet in size.

Supporters of the law said it would foster smaller scale grocery stores dispersed throughout San Diego’s neighborhoods, rather than a few massive outlets that would draw car traffic from a wide radius, undermine local businesses, and disrupt the urban fabric.

“I have a vision for San Diego and that vision is about walkable, livable communities, not big, mega-structures that inhibit people’s lives,” said Councilman Tony Young.

The ordinance was patterned after a similar law adopted in Turlock, California. Wal-Mart challenged that law in court, but in July a federal judge ruled that the measure was constitutional.

Wal-Mart has said that it may organize a signature drive to place a referendum on the San Diego ordinance before voters.

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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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