‘Superstore’ restrictions remain in limbo

By City News Service

The City Council’s override of a mayoral veto of an ordinance to require developers of big box superstores to perform an economic impact study was left in limbo Monday.

At the beginning of the first council meeting with newly seated members David Alvarez and Lorie Zapf, Councilman Carl DeMaio asked that reconsideration of the override be placed on the agenda of a future meeting.

He said “a lame duck council” with former members Donna Frye and Ben Hueso voted on the override at a meeting last Thursday, denying their successors a chance to be heard on the subject.

After consulting with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith over provisions of the state’s open meeting law, it was determined that interim Councilman Kevin Faulconer could request that the city clerk place reconsideration of the override issue on a future agenda.

Faulconer did so, but Goldsmith warned that Councilman Tony Young, who was later installed as the council president for the next year, could easily rescind his action.

Young took control over the dais about 30 minutes later, but took no immediate action.

The ordinance, and the override, both passed on 5-3 votes, with DeMaio, Faulconer and Sherri Lightner dissenting.

Proposed by Councilman Todd Gloria, the measure 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 and was designed to protect small businesses, Gloria said.

Mayor Jerry Sanders, in a memo to City Council members, 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.

He also argued that 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.”