City Beat: Sacramento City Council eases restrictions on 'big-box' stores

rlillis@sacbee.comAugust 20, 2013 

The Sacramento City Council eased the city's restrictions of big-box superstores Tuesday night following a contentious two-hour debate that pitted some of the region's top business interests against influential labor leaders.

By a 6-2 vote, the council erased most of a 2006 ordinance that required superstore chains to conduct wage and benefit studies of nearby businesses before being permitted to build new facilities. Complex economic impact studies will also be waived for stores seeking to expand, or open in "food deserts" or some major planned developments.

The City Council chambers were packed for the hearing, with those who opposed easing the restrictions outnumbering those who advocated for easing the restrictions by a 2-1 margin.

Labor leaders, small business representatives and neighborhood activists urged the council to keep the 2006 ordinance in place. Many of those speakers were greeted with applause by members of the audience after speaking.

Building trades group and business organizations led the push to ease the restrictions.

Council members Kevin McCarty and Darrell Fong voted against easing the restrictions. Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell abstained from the vote.

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