CGA has learned that supporters of a Los Angeles ordinance to create “incentives” for increased fresh food infrastructure have come up with a two-part scheme to penalize grocers, both of which would make it more difficult for grocers to expand in the city. The union-backed advocacy organization LAANE has long sought to create a regulatory structure in the city that encourages some companies while penalizing others.
This new proposal would force grocers to obtain a conditional use permit for new store development or major remodel. If passed, grocers would expend significant funds to meet the administrative demands and face whithering opposition at public hearings from advocacy groups if they did not fit the model supported by LAANE. Several recent reports on the food desert situation in Los Angeles note that the city needs to streamline the permitting process, not make the process more complicated.
Second, the proposal would create a “mitigation fee” for attempting to build a new store or remodel a store in an area that is not designated a food desert by the City’s Planning Department. Again, increasing costs will only stymie development in the City, not create better, newer fresh food infrastructure.
It is unclear how much support the current proposal has but CGA is assessing the potential damage such an ordinance would have on new store development in the City.