L.A. to block new fast-food eateries in poor areas

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to put in place a 1-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in the South Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park community planning areas.

The action, which still must be signed into law by the mayor, is believed to be the first of its kind by a major city to protect public health.

"Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," said Bernard Parks, a city councilman.

The moratorium would only affect stand-alone restaurants, not establishments located in malls or strip shopping centers, and defines fast-food restaurants as those that do not offer table service and provide a limited menu of pre-prepared or quickly heated food in disposable wrapping.

The Council said the moratorium is designed as a "stop-gap measure" that will allow the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee time to study the effects of fast-food restaurants as they pertain to community design, pedestrian activity, traffic and other important urban planning issues. It also will allow time to attract grocery stores and restaurants to the area.

"This ordinance is in no way attempting to tell people what to eat but rather responding to the need to attract sit-down restaurants, full-service grocery stores, and healthy food alternatives," said Jan Perry, a city councilwoman.

The announcement comes just a few days after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 97, a bill that will phase out the use of trans fats in all California restaurants beginning in 2010 and from all baked foods by 2011.

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