A new ordinance defines and prohibits chain restaurants at the tourist zone
original article: https://la.eater.com/2018/11/28/18112904/santa-monica-promenade-fast-food-ban-chains
The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously last night to issue an “Urgency Interim Zoning Ordinance” prohibiting fast-food restaurants with more than 100 locations nationwide from opening on the Third Street Promenade.
The newly passed ordinance also provides specific language defining a fast food restaurant, which includes establishments where “orders [are] placed at a walk-up window, counter, or machine,” “payment [is completed] prior to food consumption,” and “food [is] served with disposable, one-time, or limited-use wrapping, containers, or utensils.”
“Keeping things like Taco Bell Cantina or other fast food endeavors which you can find in literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other locations will help us keep that uniquely Santa Monica feel,” remarked Gleam Davis, mayor pro tem.
The ordinance will only apply to establishments with frontage on the Promenade. All establishments with applications “deemed complete” on or before November 27, 2018 would be exempt. The ordinance expires in 45 days but can be extended by the City Council for a total of two years.
Initial concerns about the proliferation of fast food restaurants on the Promenade were raised by Downtown Santa Monica Inc. (DTSM), which resulted in the City Council directing staff to explore methods to curtail the trend this past August.
The ordinance is a part of a citywide initiative to transform the Promenade into a one-of-a-kind community gathering place, as the rise of online shopping has greatly reduced foot traffic in the neighborhood.
Other cities, as large as San Francisco and as small as Cotati, have adopted some form of neighborhood or citywide control on fast food restaurants due to similar concerns.
Three local residents attended the meeting to share their thoughts on the ordinance. The only dissenter was Jonathan Foster, a homeless man who plays drums on the Promenade.
Currently, 32 percent of businesses on the Promenade are eating and drinking establishments, according to Jing Yu, the city planning manager. Of the 28 existing food serving establishments on the Promenade, 19 are limited service restaurants, while nine offer full service.