Council approves rules for ‘superstore’ development

By City News Service

The City Council gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance requiring developers to conduct an economic and community impact study before a “superstore” can be built in San Diego.

The City Council voted 5-3 in favor of the so-called “Ordinance to Protect Small and Neighborhood Businesses.”

Council members Carl DeMaio, Kevin Faulconer and Sherri Lightner were opposed.

The ordinance, which was proposed by Councilman Todd Gloria, requires an analysis of the economic impact superstores would have on neighborhoods and communities before they can be built.

It will affect retailers larger than 90,000 square feet that generate more than 10 percent of revenues from groceries.

Opponents argued the law unfairly targets Walmart, and is essentially a “defacto ban” on its Supercenters. Faulconer contended the ordinance would obstruct business at a time when the city should be doing the opposite.

An attempt at an outright ban on superstores failed three years ago.

In 2007, the City Council voted to approve an ordinance banning superstores, but the decision was later vetoed by Mayor Jerry Sanders. The veto was upheld when Councilwoman Donna Frye, who originally supported the ban, reversed her position.