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Council limits new fast-food outlets in South L.A.

December 8, 2010 |  3:26 pm

Concerned about a proliferation of fast-food restaurants, the City Council on Wednesday voted to impose new limits on fast-food establishments across a broad swath of South Los Angeles.

Among other restrictions, the lawmakers voted to ban the opening of new fast-food concerns within a half-mile radius of similar eateries.

The council’s unanimous vote was the culmination of years of effort to bring greater dietary choice and an improved aesthetic to an area that suffers from both slapdash development and a high rate of diet-related health problems -- including obesity and diabetes -- that some researchers have linked to fast foods.

“For a community to thrive, it is important to have balance, a full variety of food, retail and service providers,” said Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who spearheaded the measure along with Councilwoman Jan Perry.

Two years ago, the council slapped a moratorium on many new fast-food establishments in the densely populated area in a bid to encourage alternatives such as sit-down restaurants, full-service grocery stores and healthy food outlets. Planners have since been looking at permanent ways to promote diverse dietary options.

The new rules adopted Wednesday are to become part of the permanent planning guidelines for the 32-square-mile area, lawmakers said. Similar restrictions are already in place in other L.A. neighborhoods.

Affected are a sprawling zone south of Interstate 10 that is home to an estimated 800,000 people and encompasses much of South and southeast Los Angeles, including the West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park communities.
The new guidelines, which seek to improve landscaping, trash storage, parking and other factors, apply only to so-called “stand alone” eateries, not those situated in malls and other sites considered “mixed use”  developments.

In a bow to concerns from the fast-food industry, existing fast-food establishments seeking to remodel or expand would be exempt from some of the new requirements.


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-- Patrick J. McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall