Calif. bill requiring superstore economic studies moves forward - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Calif. bill requiring superstore economic studies moves forward

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - State legislation aimed at forcing developers of superstores to commission economic impact reports, similar to an ordinance repealed in the city of San Diego, was passed by a Senate committee Wednesday.

SB 469, if approved by the full Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would require developers of stores larger than 90,000 square feet, with 10 percent of the space devoted to groceries, to have studies done on how their projects would affect surrounding neighborhoods.

The Small Business and Neighborhood Business Protection Act was moved out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a 6-3 vote.

"Today, we are one step closer to shedding light on the economic abuse imposed on neighborhoods when supercenters move in, kill small businesses and reap public services," said the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego. "SB 469 will give our local leaders the tools they need to protect our communities."

Opponents contend the bill unfairly targets Wal-Mart because its employee are not unionized.

The San Diego version was adopted last November, but Wal-Mart funded a campaign that collected far more petition signatures than needed to force a public vote. The City Council, concerned about election costs, repealed the law in February.

Bill Dombrowski, the president and CEO of the California Retailers Association, expressed disappointment with the committee action on the state bill.

"This legislation will further harm California's economy, hinder job growth, and require unneeded and bureaucratic state mandates onto local communities," Dombrowski said. "SB 469 is only about one thing - limiting competition to favor one type of retailer over another. Rather than allowing local communities to decide, the state will make it even more difficult for communities to bring in jobs and revenue that they desperately need."

He also said there were no established guidelines for the economic reports.

The Senate Environmental Quality Committee is scheduled to take up the measure later this month.

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