The City Council has decided against banning so-called formula businesses in downtown Anacortes. The action last night came as the Council took up proposed changes to the city’s development regulations.
The Council dumped a proposal by Council member Cynthia Richardson to keep formula businesses, national retail outlets, out of the Central Business District. Included in the description would be stores like Radio Shack, a locally-owned store which is part of a large national retail chain.
During discussion, Council member Erica Pickett sugested looking for alternatives, saying “There’s been a lot of concern over size and design. Is there another way we can do this?”
Richardson said one issue to keep in mind is that many of the chain stores have deep pockets and can force the little guy out of business.
Council member Brian Geer suggested using the word ‘restrict’ instead of ‘prohibit. in the proposal. “To prohibit businesses seems counter-productive to me.”
But, Council member Brad Adams said “We need to find ways to increase our tax base,’
Nick Petrish, another Council member, pointed out “It’s obvious to me that the people of Anacortes want more retail opportunities; we should be careful how we approach this.”
Fellow Council member Bill Turner suggested waiting. “It would be better if we wait.” And, suggested considering some size restrictions.
In the end, Richardson said “I did not see a groundswell of business owners in the Central Business District come out to support this. I’m okay with dropping it.”
The Council simply let the matter drop. It is not included in the dozens of changes which won preliminary approval and which will come up again, probably in October, for final consideration.