San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor A Counter View to San Carlos’ Anti-Chain Store Ordinance. | The White Oaks Blog
Downtown San Carlos February 11, 2016

A Counter View to San Carlos’ Anti-Chain Store Ordinance.

by Chuck Gillooley

An Unlikely Dissenter.

Two months ago, the City Council of San Carlos issued an urgency ordinance that would restrict any “chain” store from setting up shop in downtown San Carlos. This would be accomplished by requiring any business with 10 or more outlets in the United States to apply for a special use permit before they are able to open anywhere in the downtown area. The City Council and the public would thereby have a say in what businesses could (or could not) establish themselves anywhere in San Carlos’ red-hot downtown district.

The idea was to help preserve the unique and eclectic feel that the downtown has projected for many years. Presumably, this ordinance was set in motion by the sale of the building at 652 Laurel Street, which was the home of Mi Ranchito Taqueria and Plantation Coffee Roastery, and the possibility that this prime storefront location on Laurel Street could now become home to a much larger chain store without some sort of stopgap measure. The urgency ordinance was passed by the City Council, and has been in place every since. If by intent alone, it’s not a bad idea.

Now, there is a dissenting voice to the ordinance which has come from the most unlikely of sources – one of the Council members who voted in favor of the ordinance in the first place.

Click below to see Council Member Mark Olbert’s explanation as to why he feels the ordinance is actually not the right solution, despite the fact that he voted in favor of the ordinance back in December. I have a world of respect for Councilman Olbert, his intelligence, and his dedication to the well-being of the City of San Carlos, so I think it’s worth your time to watch this presentation.

Anti Chain Store Ordinance from Mark Olbert on Vimeo.


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Comments 1
  • Hi Chuck–

    The fact that Mark Olbert is promoting this is a good reason to have concerns. I am not surprised that he changed his mind because Mark’s positions are less about the greater good and more about his own personal agenda.

    As much as I love Burlingame, San Carlos has become a destination specifically because we differentiate ourselves by having local stores and one of a kind operations and services that make us a great alternative to Burlingame.

    In the last year, I have met several new families who moved from San Francisco to San Carlos and settled in to the Laureola Park neighborhood. All of them, when I asked, “Why San Carlos? Why not some other city on the peninsula?” Their answers were the same. They all preferred to move to a town that had a nice downtown area that has its own personality-and not a bunch of chain stores. There is a significant amount of planned growth going on in San Carlos right now. Though I am one in favor of growing the city, I want to see it done in a thoughtful manner.

    I do not trust Mark Olbert. But I do trust in the spirit of our citizens. How about we let our citizens make the choice on whether or not to allow chain stores to be a part of our city landscape in our next election season.

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