E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Google Plus
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chain restaurants in downtown Bloomington

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Mayor Kruzan has said that his proposal to make chain restaurants a "conditional use" that would need to be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is not a "ban" on chains. But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... you know how it goes. The purpose of this proposal is clearly to make it more difficult for chains to locate in downtown Bloomington. Given that there are already several chains downtown - Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, Subway and Chipotle - the BZA could conclude that any additional chains would upset the "balance" needed downtown.

After a few people argued in the public comments that the market should determine what restaurants should go downtown, Steve Volan childishly brought up the argument that no one should object to a chemical weapons incineration facility downtown. This is downright silly. It is several leaps from arguing that the market should decide which restaurants should be permitted to locate downtown to arguing for no restrictions on land use at all. Volan is far too intelligent to be making these arguments.

Obviously, there should be reasonable restrictions on land use, to protect the property rights and property values of neighbors. I do not know of anyone who is arguing for absolutely no land use restrictions. Going to an absurd extreme does not establish the case for making chain restaurants a "conditional use" downtown.

The other problem is that the Indiana state constitution makes it illegal for government to "grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens." A restaurant owner with a single location would not be subject to the same restriction as someone attempting to open a Jimmy John's or a Burger King - or another Kilroy's location, for that matter. The pseudo-ban would almost certainly be subject to a court challenge, and the city could very well lose.

It is true that downtown Bloomington has a unique character, and we do not necessarily want it to lose that character, but this clearly discriminatory pseudo-ban is not the way to go about protecting the downtown. The city council should reject Kruzan's proposal.

Below are the rules for commenting on ConservaTibbs.com.

  1. A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

  2. This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

  3. Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name may not be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you must subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

  4. You must put a name or pseudonym on your comments. All comments by "Anonymous" will be deleted.

  5. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

Thank you for your cooperation.


At March 10, 2014 at 3:49 PM , Blogger Indy Student said...  

A bit of an outsider perspective, but I like how the Broad Ripple village in Indianapolis has handled chains. Several chains have existed in the heart of Broad Ripple, some for a long time. But the ones in the heart of Broad Ripple typically are different than the typical store.

The Starbucks and CVS both lack a drive thru and are small. The Kroger lacks a pharmacy and is pretty much groceries and a few other items. The McDonald's has a drive-thru but it is on the edge of Broad Ripple and not in the heart of it.

And that seems to be the attitude in lots of Indianapolis' communities, neighborhoods, and cultural centers. Chains are allowed, but you're probably not gonna get a Wal-Mart Super Center in there. A Wal-Mart Grocery Market? Maybe.

Hell, this whole discussion may be a non-issue. How much downtown space in Bloomington is there actually available? I'd guess that any chain would have to be in existing spaces and wouldn't have much room to expand.