Big Stores Help Consumers

And it is good that Sacramento is considering loosening the restrictions on where they can be built, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.

Our family favorite is Costco, which saves us hundreds of dollars a year, as do shoppers, which we occasionally are, at Wal-Mart.

The beauty of well-regulated capitalism is competition, which benefits us all, and allowing the big box stores to compete is a good thing.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento officials have proposed a repeal of the city’s strict regulation of big-box superstores, setting up a showdown with labor unions that have spent years battling retail giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“For more than a year, building industry and development advocates have worked behind the scenes to reverse the city’s 2006 big-box ordinance.

“That law, passed by a City Council with stronger ties to organized labor than the one presiding now, requires complex economic analyses and wage studies for chains seeking to build stores larger than 90,000 square feet with more than 10 percent of the space dedicated to groceries. The law does not apply to stores with memberships, such as Costco.

“Just five big-box stores operate within city limits, none of which are considered superstores because they do not meet the overall size and grocery space thresholds of the law, according to a database provided by the city development department. And while neighboring cities have looser restrictions on superstores – there are 35 big-box stores in other jurisdictions in the region – reversing the law has become a potentially explosive topic in Sacramento.

“The mere thought of reversing the ordinance has angered influential labor leaders, who are expected to disparage the proposal at a community forum Monday night at Old City Hall, 915 I St. Some council members, including those who have pushed for the change behind the scenes, are refusing to make their opinions on the matter publicly known, seeking to distance themselves from the tense debate.

“The proposed change is part of a wider push at City Hall to streamline decades-old business regulations and ease the permitting process for new development. The council voted earlier this month to do away with dozens of fees and restrictions in the city’s first major overhaul of its zoning code in 50 years.

“Council members could have voted to repeal the big-box ordinance as part of the larger business regulation and zoning package. But given the controversy surrounding the proposal, city staff separated it to allow more time for discussion.

“After a series of debates – beginning with the Monday meeting – the council is expected to vote on the change in July.

“Much of the debate is focused on the planned Delta Shores development, to be built on 800 acres next to Meadowview on the city’s southern edge. Delta Shores is one of the city’s last large tracts of open land, and plans call for large retail centers and hundreds of houses.

“Attorney Gregory Thatch, who represents the project’s developer, said Delta Shores is “definitely the type of development that would include big-box stores,” but said no tenants are signed yet. Thatch, who has represented several large development projects in the city, was also critical of the big-box restrictions.

“That ordinance does inhibit what you can do,” he said. “It’s an issue that looms out there.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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