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Castro Wants to Tie Chain Stores Up in Lots of Red Tape

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Today the Board of Supervisors will hear some interim zoning controls in the Castro that would require authorization from the Planning Commission for any projects with new formula retail—meaning chain stores and restaurants. The Planning Code defines formula retail as any business with 11 or more locations in the US, so it doesn't matter if it's a local chain, like La Boulange, or something global, like Chase Bank. The new rules say that whenever formula retail is proposed for the Castro, the Planning Commission will have to consider the concentration of existing chains, the availability of similar shops, compatibility with neighborhood character, and retail vacancy rates. In the meantime, Planning is still trying to hash out some citywide formula retail reform.
· Formula Retail Uses in the Castro Street Neighborhood Commercial District [SF BOS]
· Previous coverage of formula retail [Curbed SF]