Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

California Governor vetoes excellent "big box review" law

In response to this year's debacle in San Diego, where the city passed a very good big box review ordinance, but a hardcore campaign orchestrated by people and organizations associated with Walmart ended up with the ordinance being repealed, California State Senator Juan Vargas entered legislation for a state-wide requirement.

Even though California already has a pretty good process under the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Assessment) which includes a review of the potential for decay of extant development vis-a-vis new development, it was felt that a stronger law would benefit communities dealing with the new urban push by megastores.

-- Proposed California law, SB 469, Land use: development project review: superstores

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation. See "Jerry Brown rejects new restrictions on megastores" from the Los Angeles Times.

In any case, the legislation is a model for local ordinances with strong review provisions and procedures.

Communities facing the entry of such stores ought to be dealing with improvements in their ordinances and regulations right now, before the stores begin to arrive, not after they submit plans.

Locally this is relevant to DC and Montgomery County, Maryland, although it's too late to help with regard to Walmart in DC.

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