Breaking the chains - Page 4

Rival measures updating SF's formula retail controls stir controversy and debate

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Philz Coffee is a homegrown chain that would be exempted from proposed formula retail controls.
PHOTO BY KENNEJIMA/FLICKER (CC)

"Nine supervisors have tightened up the restrictions in their districts, but the Planning Department has gone the opposite way," Dooley told us. "The irony was it all started with the protests [of chain applicants skirting local controls], but the Planning Department turned it on its head to loosen the restrictions."

Yet the planners involved on the proposal call that a simplistic view that discounts the comprehensive nature of the new policy, which they say could serve as a model for other cities.

"I think they'll all catch up to us," Rodgers said of the other big US cities that have become to explore formula retail controls as local small businesses struggle against competition from chain stores. "We are a national leader on this and we want to get it right."

Mitchell agreed: "There are lots of conversations going on around the country about how to meet this challenge, and people are watching what San Francisco does."