It will if the East Village Community Coalition has its way. This week’s Villager reports on the group’s efforts to “eventually implement changes to the city’s Zoning Resolution that would prevent so-called formula chain establishments such as Starbucks from displacing local businesses or appearing out of context with the neighborhood.”

Options that other cities have used to limit chain retail stores include store size caps (usually only effective for banning the big boxes), community impact review requirements (in which impact studies are required for large-scale retail developments), and the aforementioned formula business restrictions. While some towns or neighborhoods choose a complete moratorium on chain stores, others require chains to alter their “formula” by designing their signage, facades, etc. to be both different from other locations of the same chain, and contextual with the surrounding neighborhood.

Since commercial uses in NYC are already regulated by zoning, and considering the recent attention to this issue and concerns that chain stores are pushing out small businesses and causing NYC to lose its character, is this an idea whose time has come?

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