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Carpinteria considers restrictions on chain stores to keep the small town feel

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Carpinteria's quaint small-town feel is of value to city council members, and they have made that clear with the request for an ordinance that could impact future business operations.

The council is asking for an ordinance that could restrict chain or franchise businesses in the future. It is still unclear how far it will go.

Ojai has a similar ordinance with some restrictions and conditions, along with several other California small towns.

The Carpinteria council has many options ahead. That may include fast-food chains, a limited number of franchise operations, or a certain area that is preserved from these operators in order to keep the available locations open for local small businesses.

A chain business usually has standardized menus, uniforms, and signs.

The council is also concerned about chains that have a sign or logo that is not in conformance with the city's rules.

The council is unanimous on this request for an ordinance. It will discuss the specifics once a draft is written.

No date has been set on when the ordinance will be ready for review.

On a quiet Monday on Linden Avenue, Ezra Robinson a former resident was back checking out the records at Murphy's Vinyl store. "Right in the middle of the heart of town is nice to have the old feel (like) the surf shops," she said. "It looks very similar to when I grew up here basically. I can look at my old house every time I come here, it is that same old feeling."

Nearby, at the just opened Carp Moon Cafe, owner Laura Samperio said she looks forward to her spot on a busy corner. She is from Ventura County but has come to Carpinteria with family and friends often. "When my friends, they come and they walk around the town, they leave with a really good feeling about not having big companies around. It is what it is, the essence of Carpinteria."

"There are several parcels in Carpinteria changing hands right now and the city council is very concerned about the tenants moving in especially because of the   high price being paid for these sites. They have been warned, it could also mean only larger business operations and chain stores can afford the costs.

It could also challenge the local owners. "As a small business owner I have to be more creative.  I notice that big companies, they don't have that much struggle . It is challenging," said Samperio.

With growth comes other issues and Robinson worries about traffic impacts saying, "growth is good but right here it could get too congested."

That may not stop some franchise businesses from trying to secure a vacant spot.
Ezra Robinson said, "I think they are going to try no matter what. I hopefully people put some resistance up  in certain areas at least ."

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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