According to today's paper,
Councilman Joe McNamara has proposed an ordinance prohibiting a convenience store from operating within 2,000 feet of another convenience store, or within 1,000 feet of a school, public library, or other places established for minors.
Establishments that do not sell tobacco or tobacco products would not be affected, Mr. McNamara said.
"In 1993, spacing requirements were added to the Toledo Municipal Code and, in 2004, it was taken out as a comprehensive rewrite of the zoning code," he said.
"We are just going back to what we originally had since there has been a proliferation of convenience stores in the central city since 2004."
Yes - you read that correctly. We've got businesses starting in the city and now that's a bad thing that must be addressed through zoning restrictions to prevent it from happening. And they think the problem is in the central city, but the law will affect all areas of the city, equally.
It seems to me that there must be a need for such stores or they wouldn't be opening. And, with gas prices the way they are, it should come as no surprise to council members that individuals might choose to walk to a neighborhood store rather than drive elsewhere.
The supporters of such regulation are using the same arguments they used to support the licensing law:
"Supporters of stricter regulations argue that convenience stores have saturated Toledo and are attracting crime, alcoholism, prostitution, drug use, and other unsavory elements.
Critics say some Toledo stores stock drug paraphernalia, such as disguised crack pipes and small plastic bags for powder drugs."
Note that it's not the behavior they're trying to stop, nor are they calling for more police officers and better enforcement of laws against prostitution, drug use or loitering. No, they're trying to drive job providers out of the city.
Just because some drug addict finds a drug-related use for a normal grocery item like small bags does not mean the seller of the small bags is stocking drug paraphernalia. I use those small bags quite often and NOT for drugs!
Council members need to stop catering to the anti-business demands of these neighborhood groups and start looking at the real problem. If crime in these areas is the problem, the solution is not to drive business owners away - it's to increase police patrols, enforcement and prosecution.
Shutting down a business will not change the behavior of the people who patronize such establishments, but it might be an easier decision for politicians because then they can say they 'did' something - even if what they 'did' doesn't solve the problem.
Toledo can't afford more anti-business decisions, and calling the city a 'business friendly city of the future' doesn't make it so.