Keep big box stores out of San Juan

The San Juan Bautista City Council should permanently slam the
door on big box stores and restaurants and retail chain businesses
in the charming little town. The city, with good reason, is
considering extending it’s two-year moratorium on those types of
stores.
The San Juan Bautista City Council should permanently slam the door on big box stores and restaurants and retail chain businesses in the charming little town. The city, with good reason, is considering extending it’s two-year moratorium on those types of stores.

Local mom and pop shops, and the absence of chain stores and fast food restaurants, help create San Juan’s allure. The Mission City, with it’s colorful events, quaint old buildings and chickens crossing the road is truly unique in this day and age.

Plopping a chain store like McDonalds or 7-11 down on Third Street or The Alameda in San Juan would destroy that atmosphere – the very thing that draws in tourists who are the city’s life blood.

“San Juan is seen by tourists as being a place that’s free of that – that’s what they see in many other communities in California,” said Dan De Vries, the chairman of San Juan’s planning commission. “It’s nice to go to a town that doesn’t have a strip center of Starbucks and Jamba Juice.”

Two years ago, the city put in place an emergency ordinance to keep out chain stores when talk of building of a Wal-Mart and Subway caused an outcry. That ordinance is set to expire in December. Now, the city will considering whether to make it permanent.

The ordinance would prevent single retail spaces over 5,000 square feet, but makes reasonable exceptions for banks, health centers, religious uses and other such establishments. It also would forbid formula retail and restaurant businesses like fast-food joints.

De Vries said he’s in favor of continuing the ordinance because large-scale businesses could have a serious effect on parking and traffic within the small city depending on the location.

We agree. It should be a slam dunk. Make it permanent.

You can go anywhere else in America and see strip malls, big box stores and chain restaurants.

San Juan should keep going with the historic approach. In the long run, maintaining the charm and the history of the little mission town will pay off handsomely.

To respond to this editorial or comment on this issue, please send or bring letters to Editor, The Hollister Free Lance, 350 Sixth St., Hollister, Calif. 95023 or e-mail to [email protected]

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