Formula Retail Restrictions

Through community workshops and the creation of the Retail Diversity Working Group, the EVCC analyzed the current state of formula retail within the East Village. The 2015 Preserving Local, Independent Retail report from EVCC includes a set of proposals for limiting chain stores in the neighborhood through zoning reforms.

EVCC works to protect independent, small businesses within the neighborhood in order to maintain the diverse, unique community that has existed for so long. Over the past five years, increases in chain businesses can be see in both 10009 and 10003 zip codes that make up the East Village. Currently there are roughly 63 chain stores located within the square half mile the makes up the neighborhood. Several New York City and regional plans cite unique neighborhoods and independent stores as extremely important for New York’s future. Yet, according to the Center for Urban Future, 2013 marked the sixth consecutive year there was a net increase in national chain stores throughout the five boroughs.

Other places have already started taking action in defense of their communities. Examples of formula retail regulation can be seen in both New York City’s own Upper West Side and the city of San Francisco.

In 2012, after having issues with store frontages being largely occupied by banks and apartment lobbies three corridors on the NYC’s Upper West Side were rezoned as “Special Districts”. The new zoning limits the store frontage sizes and certain store conversions or changes in use. Read NYC Department of City Planning’s approved Upper West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets amended zoning text here.

San Francisco is the largest urban area in the US to have strict formula retail business restrictions. The City’s zoning only allows formula retail in certain neighborhoods, requires neighborhood notifications before any chain retail is permitted, and can limit the size and type of formula retail allowed in a given area. The San Francisco Department of Planning’s website details the restrictions and provides residents with a link where they can find out exact zoning for specific sites.

Contact info (at) evccnyc (dot) org or sign up for EVCC’s newsletter if you are interested in learning more formula retail restrictions.


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East Village Community Coalition
143 Avenue B - Simplex
New York, NY 10009