Sanders vetoes proposed ‘superstore’ restrictions

By City News Service

An ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council to require developers to conduct an economic and community impact study before a “superstore” can be built in San Diego was vetoed Monday by Mayor Jerry Sanders.

The City Council two weeks ago 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, would require an analysis of the economic impact superstores would have on neighborhoods and communities before they can be built.

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

In a memo to City Council members, Sanders wrote that the legislation affects one type of store for regulation in a manner inconsistent with the city’s land development code and general plan.

“I do not believe it is the city’s role to determine where consumers may shop, or to provide a competitive advantage to certain retail businesses,” Sanders wrote.

He also claimed the ordinance sent a message that San Diego was not business-friendly at a time when there is a high unemployment rate and “job creation is critical.”

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

The City Council can attempt to override the veto at a future meeting.

An attempt at an outright ban on superstores failed three years ago when the City Council failed to override a mayoral veto.