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City releases revised chain store ordinance draft

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 6:30 am

Late Tuesday afternoon the Malibu Planning Department released a revised version of a controversial ordinance that would regulate chain stores in the Civic Center. 

The proposed ordinance would require chain stores to obtain a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission in order to operate in the Civic Center. 

The latest draft is the culmination of several months spent by city staff addressing comments and questions received by the city when the first draft was released in March. 

Among the major revisions are how the city defines a chain store. Under the new draft, a chain store is considered a business operating at least 10 stores in the United States. A chain was defined in the first draft as having six or more locations within Southern California. 

The city attorney and Planning Department have also responded directly to comments received that questioned the lack of an environmental impact report—a major concern raised by an attorney for several shopping center owners in the Civic Center. 

Backers of a retail ordinance believe Malibu’s character and uniqueness will lose its luster if chain businesses continue renting up vacant spaces in shopping centers. They also fear shopping center landlords hiking rent prices and making it hard for small business owners to afford leases in Malibu. 

Opponents of the ordinance, however, believe such regulations would impede upon the free market and potentially expose the City of Malibu to lawsuits for dictating land uses for private property owners. 

The draft was released as The Malibu Times went to print Tuesday. For extensive coverage of the revised draft and reaction from the community, pick up The Malibu Times next week. 

The Planning Commission will discuss the proposed law and make its recommendation at a July 29 meeting at City Hall. 

To read the draft and corresponding documents, visit the city's website

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