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National Restaurant Association - CRA asks policymakers to avoid punitive zoning policies

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CRA asks policymakers to avoid punitive zoning policies

The California Restaurant Association, representing 22,000 restaurants across the state, applauded the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week for its approval of the Los Angeles County Healthy Design Ordinance that promotes exercise and increased access to fresh foods.

The organization also cautioned policymakers to avoid punitive and impractical policies that would create excessive zoning regulations on Los Angeles restaurants.

"Healthy living proposals that promote education, physical activity and increased consumer options should be embraced, while punitive restaurant zoning restrictions that undermine responsible consumer choice, eliminate jobs, and distract from real obesity solutions must be avoided," said Jot Condie, president and CEO of the CRA.

The L.A. county ordinance promotes wider sidewalks and bicycle parking, and facilitates the growth of community gardens and farmers markets. The CRA said it supports productive policy changes like these that promote healthy living.

However, the CRA said a recent proposal by the Community Health Councils is an example of efforts to manipulate the land use process and place unprecedented restrictions on the restaurant industry. The CRA called these zoning measures counterproductive, saying they would not address the obesity problem and would add to the unemployment problem.

"Implementing targeted and unfair restrictions on this industry sector will threaten jobs and will cause economic harm to already struggling communities,” said Condie. “Proposals to change zoning to keep certain types of restaurants out of communities set a bad precedent.  And it sends exactly the wrong kind of message to employers looking to invest or locate in the region."

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