San Diego Bans Supercenters

Date: 1 Dec 2006 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.