The Los Angeles City Council is painting itself green and health-conscious again -- this time, with a strict city ordinance that holds down a temporary South L.A. ban on new fast-food restaurants opening within a half-mile of existing ones. The zone also includes much of Baldwin Hills, West Adams and Southeast Los Angeles.
Over 70 percent of food currently for sale in the area can be considered "fast," according to the planning commission stuck with the assignment. (Compare that to the, uh, lush organic paradise of West L.A. -- only 40 percent fast.)
Perhaps more amusing are the landscaping requirements:
4. That parking for the Project is located at the rear or sides of the building, and partially screened from view from any public street by a minimum 36" tall decorative solid wall and/or dense vegetation of the same height.
5. That a minimum of 7% of the total area of the surface parking lot is landscaped with planting materials and the project has a coordinated landscape plan that includes abundant trees and shrubs.
So, even if you can find a mile-diametered golden circle in the land of 70 percent, don't dare think about setting up shop until you've got a massive decorative wall and more shrubs than chicken fingers on hand to offset your drive-through window.
Back in 2007, when this community-saving law of the land was thunk up by City Councilmember Jan Perry, she defined a "fast food restaurant" like so:
"Any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders, and food served in disposable wrapping or containers."
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Either McDonalds will have to go South L.A.-classy and hire a bunch of waiters with clown costumes, or they'll have to find some other community to bomb (read: obese-ify) with their mystery patties. [In San Francisco, city officials went so far as to ban the Happy Meal this fall. Oh heavens, no! At least Los Angeles politicians haven't gone so far to deny the fat little children their source of life happiness.]
Perry told City News Service that her constituents inspired the ban.
"When we talk to our community members and the people that we were elected to represent, the one thing that we hear over and over and over again is: 'We need more grocery stores, we need more restaurants, we need more choices, we are tired of the choices that have been given to this community,''' she said.
We're wondering who these mystery homies Perry is keeping down in South L.A. could be. Reveal yourselves, homies, and tell us why you have forced us to walk a full half-mile just to get our heart attack on!