Posts Tagged ‘Big Box Ordinance’
Two hotly contested bills by Senator Juan Vargas fell victim to the veto pen as Governor Jerry Brown rejected Senate Bill 469 which would have subjected Wal-Mart type retail projects to additional regulatory review and Senate Bill 833 which would have killed the Gregory Canyon Landfill project.
The union backed Wal-Mart bill came after the San Diego City Council reversed course on an ordinance that imposed similar regulatory conditions after a ballot initiative calling for the repeal of the new rules qualified for the ballot last year. Vargas took up the cause in Sacramento shortly thereafter with SB 833. The Governor vetoed the bill saying it would add yet another layer of review to an already cumbersome process.
As for the Landfill legislation, the Governor conceded that the 20-year old proposal was a local matter that was twice approved by the voters. The Vargas bill would have prohibited the construction of a landfill within 1,000 feet of a site considered sacred to a tribe or within 1,000 feet of the San Luis Rey River or an aquifer connected to it. The Governor declared that it was not appropriate for the Legislature to intervene and overturn a hard-fought local land-use decision.
Faced with a special election cost of nearly $3 million the San Diego City Council voted 7-1 to rescind their previous override of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ veto of the supercenter ordinance. The ordinance would subject Walmart supercenters to an extra layer of regulatory requirements that the city’s Independent Auditor said could lead to a de facto ban of such stores.
The repeal comes after Walmart and a coalition of business advocacy groups turned in enough signatures to force the council to either repeal the ordinance outright or hold a special election within 11 months. Over 50,000 signatures were turned in to the City Clerk’s office which forced a council reconsideration.
The council had little appetite for a special election considering the multi-million dollar cost to the city and the high probability that the voters would reject an anti-Walmart ordinance. Local union leaders pushed through the ordinance targeting the non-union Walmart at breakneck speed by getting the council to circumvent traditional committee review and holding emergency meetings all in an effort to get it passed before the new city council was seated in early December.
In December 2010, the San Diego City Council rushed through new and more stringent regulations governing the construction of big box retail store – most notably – Walmart Supercenters. Pro-union members of the city council engaged in a beat the clock process to ensure a majorty vote to enact the regulations before the new council members took over following the November elections. Walmart representatives announced after the vote that they would begin a signature drive to take the matter to the voters. Today the City Clerk’s office declared that they had verified enough signatures to force the issue back to the council and perhaps on to the ballot. City officials said by their count more than 42,000 of the 54,000 signatures turned in by Walmart and a coalition of business and community leaders we valid, well above the 32,000 signatures needed to qualify.
Now the council has two options: repeal the ordinance outright or let the voters decide. Either move comes at a price: political or financial. Union leaders moved heaven and earth to get the council to impede Super Walmarts and won’t take kindly to their union allies if they turn tail and run by repealing the ordinance. The council, on the other hand, would have to spend as much a $3 million of money they don’t have on an election that polling data and political experts say would end with the voter throwing out the council’s excessive rules governing Super Walmarts. Several councilmembers are still stinging from the voter rebuke of their tax hike proposal in the November election and are not eager for another thumping by the electorate.
In any case, the council has to decide without delay on what action to take and council President Tony Young has yet to decide which way he will go when the council meets to weigh its options. Young says he’ll bring the issue forward as early as next week.
Opponents of a San Diego City Council approved ordinance making it harder to build Walmart Supercenters turned in 54,000 signatures in an effort to get the council to change its mind. The city clerks office has 30 days to verify the signatures and if it finds that at least 32,741 are valid the council must take action to either repeal the ordinance or send it to the voters for a final say.
The council voted in December 2010 to require large retail developments to conduct an extensive economic analysis as part of its project review process. The city’s independent budget analyst concluded that the findings required in the study could amount to a de facto ban on supercenters within city limits. If the council opts for a citywide vote rather than an outright repeal, the cost to taxpayers for a special election could reach $3.4 million.
Holding to its original 5 – 3 vote, the San Diego City Council voted to override Mayor Jerry Sanders’ veto of an ordinance that would make it nearly impossible for Walmart to build a Supercenter store in San Diego. The council chamber was packed with union activists and Walmart supporters and was at times raucous prompting a threat by Council President Ben Hueso to clear the chamber if people did not settle down. The emergency meeting was called to override Sanders’ veto of the ordinance before the two new council members were sworn in because of union fears that they would lose their 5 vote council majority. Newcomers Lorie Zapf and David Alvarez will be seated on Monday. Walmart officials are weighing options which include going to the voters to override the ban.
As promised, Mayor Jerry Sanders has vetoed an ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council that would make it nearly impossible to build Supercenter stores within city limits. In a memo to the city council, the mayor stated that it was not the city’s role to determine where consumers may shop and raised concerns on how the council sidestepped the normal regulatory process in order to pass the ordinance before the new city councilmembers are sworn in on December 6th.
The ordinance, pushed by Councilmember Todd Gloria at the behest of organized labor, would have established such severe requirements for Supercenters that the city’s Independent Budget Analyst said would result in a de facto ban on supercenter stores.
On a 5 – 3 vote, the council approved the ordinance on November 16th with Councilmembers Martin Emerald, Donna Frye, Ben Hueso, Tony Young and Todd Gloria voting yes and Councilmembers Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio voting no. The ordinance was seen by many as an organized labor move to block non-union Walmart from competing against union operated grocery stores in San Diego.
The City Council will hold an emergency hearing on December 2nd to vote on an override the Mayor’s veto. Since only 5 votes are needed an override seems all but certain.
Supercenters looking to do business in the City of San Diego will have to prove their worthiness under new rules passed by the city council. Before a packed council chamber of union activists who made no secret of their disdain for the non-union Walmart, the city council voted 5 to 3 to require that a series of strict findings be met before any supercenter could be built within city limits. Opponents of the ordinance, including the BIA, argued that the findings were designed to be so rigorous that they would be unachievable thereby resulting in a de facto ban on supercenters. Councilman Tony Young successfully pushed for amendments in an attempt to take some of the sting out of the findings but most saw the changes to be too subtle to make any meaningful difference. And while just the day before several councilmembers railed against CCDC for doing an end around the process to obtain an increase in the redevelopment funding cap – most, including councilmembers Marti Emerald and Donna Frye, had no problem with their own end around process on the supercenter ordinance in order to beat the new council from being seated which would have threatened their chances of success with the arrival of two new freshman councilmembers. The supercenter ordinance did not go through a standard review by the Development Services Department, the Code Monitoring Team, or the Technical Advisory Committee. Several members of the city’s Planning Commission had harsh words for Councilman Todd Gloria, the architect of the ordinance, for failure to follow the city’s standard review process that has been in place since the adoption of the Land Development Code more than 10 years ago. The public criticism had little effect on Gloria, Emerald, Frye, Young and Hueso who all voted for the ordinance. Councilmembers Faulconer, DeMaio and Lightner voted no. Mayor Jerry Sanders is expected to issue a veto in the next few days with a council hearing to override his veto scheduled for early December.
The San Diego City Council will cast the final vote this afternoon on an ordinance that will lead to a de facto ban on supercenter stores within city limits. The ordinance is being pushed by the San Diego Imperial Counties labor Council to prevent non-union supercenters from competing with their more costly union grocery store counterparts.
The pro-union city council wasted little time on the ordinance and pushed it though in record time by circumventing the city’s standard review process as well as holding an emergency council hearing all in an effort to get it done before the new city councilmembers take their posts in early December. This less than subtle capitulation to union interest drew rebukes from members of the city’s Planning Commission, community groups and the business community. The BIA has raised strong concerns over using the Land Development Code to attack a specific business.
It has also drawn a fierce response from Walmart – the real target of the ordinance – which has placed newspaper and TV ads criticizing Councilman Todd Gloria for spearheading the union effort. The council voted 5 – 3 last month on the first of two votes needed to adopt the ordinance. Mayor Jerry Sanders has vowed to use his veto power to stop the ordinance but unless another council member has a change of heart the 5 – 3 vote will be enough to override his veto.