H-SANTA MARIA

Oct 16, 2013 2:53 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Santa Maria city council will not extend ban on discount stores in downtown area

The Santa Maria city council decided to allow more discount stores in the downtown area, at least for now. Last month, the council voted on a 45-day ban on more discount stores, but it was set to expire on Friday. On Tuesday, the city council voted to let the ban end.

The council needed a 4 out of a 5 vote in order for the ban to continue, however the council voted 3-2. Councilmembers Jack Boysen and Terri Zuniga voted against the extension. That means, the ban on discount stores in the downtown area will expire on Friday.

The discussion on discount stores was really put in the forefront after Fallas was introduced to the city. Ever since the discount store even thought about opening up shop in downtown Santa Maria, it was met with controversy. Some people though Santa Maria had too many discount stores, while others expressed that it was better to open up Fallas than to leave the old Mervyn's building vacant. Fallas eventually was approved by the city council, and it celebrated its grand opening in the Town Center West shopping center last month.

Now, city staff will have to take a closer look at the downtown specific plan and the definition of a discount store to see what that means to the city.

On Tuesday night, the city council voted unanimously to give city staff time to study and work on the downtown specific plan. It is just considered a non-emergency issue now.

The city currently considered a discount store, or a bargain basement store, as any retailer that is 2,000 sq/ft or more, that sells 65-percent of its merchandise at $15 or less.

The city said it already has an application for a non-profit thrift store to open up in the downtown area.

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