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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Limitations on Formula Retail Stores
City of San Francisco
Majority Approval Required
Pass: 125,728 / 58.19% Yes votes ...... 90,353 / 41.81% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Arguments | Full Text
Shall formula retail use stores be required to get a conditional use authorization from the Planning Commission before opening in any Neighborhood Commercial District where formula retail use is currently permitted?
The City regulates formula retail use in NCDs. Formula retail is a type of retail sales activity or establishment with eleven or more other retail sales establishments located in the United States. Formula retail establishments maintain two or more of the following standardized features: merchandise, storefront, décor and color scheme, uniforms, signs or trademark.
In most NCDs, formula retail use is permitted, but only after a neighborhood has received a public notice. The Planning Commission only reviews formula retail use upon request.
Formula retail is prohibited in the Hayes-Gough and North Beach NCDs.
In four other NCDs, the Planning Code requires a conditional use authorization for formula retail use before the establishment can proceed. A conditional use authorization for formula retail use requires that the Planning Commission conduct a hearing and consider the following criteria:
A "YES" VOTE MEANS: If you vote "yes," you want to require a Planning Commission hearing for approval of a conditional use authorization before a formula retail establishment can proceed in Neighborhood Commercial Districts where formula retail is currently permitted.
A "NO" VOTE MEANS: If you vote "no," you do not want to make this change.
Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would have a neutral impact on the cost of government. The ordinance requires the City Planning Department to issue a type of permit called a conditional use authorization to establish certain types of retail businesses. The City would incur staff costs to provide the analysis and planning that would be required, however, fees are collected from applicants to fully recover such costs.
This estimate does not address the potential impact of this requirement on retail businesses or the local economy.
|Arguments For Proposition G
|Arguments Against Proposition G
|Protect San Francisco's Neighborhoods and Strengthen our Small Business Community.
Yes on The Small Business Protection Act!
Proposition G allows residents to seek conditions on chain stores to address traffic impacts, congestion, parking, signage and other concerns. It allows small businesses to voice their concerns about competition and monopolization. A conditional use permit is the vehicle for addressing these issues.
Proposition G does not ban chain stores. It simply provides neighborhoods an opportunity to ensure that proposed stores conform with the existing neighborhoods' needs and to ask for amenities such as parking and appropriate signage.
Small businesses employ more than half of the City's workforce and are the linchpin of San Francisco's economy. Proposition G helps to ensure their survival by preventing monopolization.
San Franciscans deserve the opportunity to provide their input before these chains homogenize our neighborhoods and push out the City's small businesses.
Give local residents a chance to protect the unique character of their neighborhoods. Give neighborhoods a voice. Vote YES on Proposition G!
Aaron Peskin, President, Board of Supervisors
Proposition G needs to be rejected and sent back to the Board of Supervisors with these simple instructions + "Do your job: (1) hold public hearings, (2) solicit neighborhood input, and (3) pass legislation protecting small business that meets the needs of all of San Francisco's neighborhoods."
We should no longer accept ballot measures that claim to protect small business or claim to protect neighborhood character, when in fact, these ballot measures are meager vehicles designed to advance a narrow political agenda.
Vote No on Proposition G!
Supervisor Sean R. Elsbernd, District 7
|Proposition G is a wolf in a sheep's disguise. Initially, who would not support the pleasant image of a measure designed to protect so-called small businesses and ensure neighborhood charm? Yet, after further study, the wolf reveals itself and Measure G shows its true colors as a measure that stifles small business development and further burdens the desires of neighborhoods demanding economic growth.
Requiring a blanket conditional use authorization for formula retail stores throughout San Francisco disrespects the unique character of each of our wonderful neighborhoods. Without question, some neighborhoods should have this kind of protection. But should all neighborhoods? In those neighborhoods in desperate need of jobs, economic and housing development, and commercial activity, should we blunt such opportunity by placing yet another huge hurdle in the form of conditional use authorization in the way. In other words, does one size really fit all?
Moreover, why is this measure even on the ballot? This measure very well could have been introduced as an ordinance for regular consideration by the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, and the Mayor. Such discussion would have allowed for full neighborhood input and allowed for the drafting of a comprehensive measure that meets everyone's needs. Instead, at the last minute, this measure was thrown on the ballot without any public comment or public hearings.
Beware of the wolf and Vote No on Proposition G!
Supervisor Sean R. Elsbernd, District 7 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, District 2
Too often, the City's powerful business interests prevail over the needs of our neighborhoods. Proposition G shifts the responsibility onto chain stores to collaborate with communities and demonstrate that proposed chain stores fit the needs and wants of a particular community.
Stories abound of chain stores sneaking into San Francisco neighborhoods without appropriate community notification. While corporations can employ lobbyists to help secure store locations, community organizations are often not notified of proposed chain store sites.
Proposition G establishes a reasonable hearing and permitting requirement for chain stores that wish to open in San Francisco neighborhoods. Requiring Planning Commission approval in the form of Conditional Use authorization increases community input before formula retailers enter any of the City's neighborhoods.
If a proposed store is a good fit for a particular neighborhood, the community can use the conditional use process to address the traffic and other impacts that may be caused by the chain store.
In those communities that feel they are well served by locally owned small businesses and wish to continue to support those businesses, Proposition G offers a real opportunity to voice their concerns before chain stores forever alter the character of the neighborhood.
Vote to protect San Francisco's neighborhoods and small businesses.
Vote YES on Proposition G
Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval
|Full Text of Proposition G
|Submission to the voters of an ordinance amending the Planning Code to add Section
703.4 to be known as the Small Business Protection Act and to require a conditional use authorization for the establishment of a formula retail use in Neighborhood Commercial Districts except those where such use is prohibited.
Note: Additions are italics;
Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco: Section 1. Findings. This legislation supports and is intended to further the findings set forth in Planning Code Section 703.3(a)(1)-(9). Section 2. The San Francisco Planning Code is hereby amended by adding Section 703.4, to read as follows: SEC. 703.4. CONDITIONAL USE AUTHORIZATION FOR FORMULA RETAIL USES. (a) This ordinance shall be known as the Small Business Protection Act.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 703.3(d) and except for Section 703.3(e), establishment of a formula retail use, as defined in Section 703.3, in any Neighborhood Commercial District, as identified in Article 7, shall require conditional use authorization pursuant to the criteria of Sections 303(c) and 303(i) and be subject to the terms of Sections 703.3(g) and (i).
(c) Nothing herein shall preclude the Board of Supervisors from adopting more restrictive provisions for conditional use authorization of formula retail use or prohibiting formula retail use in any Neighborhood Commercial District.