Malibu Planning Commission to consider formula retail ordinance

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The Malibu Country Mart is one of several shopping centers in the Civic Center.

The Malibu Planning Commission is expected Monday night to recommend that the City Council adopt a controversial ordinance that would regulate chain stores in the Civic Center.

The formula retail ordinance would regulate the location of operation of “formula” chain stores and services within the Civic Center “to prevent a predominant sense of sameness and familiarity from occurring,” according to an agenda report.

The meeting will be Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Malibu City Hall.

The ordinance would require new chain retailers to apply for and obtain a conditional use permit (CUP) if they wish to open a new franchise in the Civic Center. If approved, they would have to comply with various restrictions, including a square-footage requirement. A chain store is considered a business operating at least 10 stores in the United States, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance applies to five primary shopping centers in the Civic Center—Malibu Colony Plaza, Malibu Lumber Yard, Malibu Village, Malibu County Mart and Cross Creek Courtyard—and several additional shopping centers in the area. Existing chains, including Ralph’s, CVS Pharmacy and several banks, would be grandfathered under the ordinance.

The ordinance, which was first proposed last fall, has seen mixed reactions from the community and local business owners.

Many community members have spoken in support of the ordinance as a way to preserve Malibu’s character and support local businesses.

Shopping center owners, however, have blasted the ordinance, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

The Planning Commission cannot legally pass the ordinance at Monday’s meeting, but its recommendation will likely factor heavily into whether the Malibu City Council passes the law.