Commission Recommends New Exemptions for Moratorium

A moratorium on non-retail businesses along Las Tunas Drive has been enacted since April 2008. Since then, a growing number of business owners and the Temple City Chamber of Commerce have mounted opposition to it.

On Tuesday, July 22, 2008, the Planning Commission, an advisory body to the City Council, voted 4-0 to reform the current business moratorium. (There is currently one vacancy on the Planning Commission.)

Under the approved law, all businesses since April 1 must provide at least 50% of sales tax of its business services in order to move into Temple City. The moratorium affects all areas on Las Tunas Drive between Rowland Avenue and Sultana Avenue. Existing businesses are not affected by it.

“I think the moratorium as we have studied it can be improved upon” commented City Manager Charles R. Martin at the City Council meeting on July 15.

Community Development Manager Joe Lambert opened discussion over two proposed exemptions.

The first exemption would allow non-sales tax producing businesses to move into second floor units. The second exception permits those same businesses to operate in areas of less than 1000 square feet.

“I don’t know if we’re accomplishing anything right now” stated Linda Payne, President of the Chamber of Commerce. Payne announced her opposition to the current moratorium, and supported lifting any restrictions enacted by it.

The idea of the business moratorium was spawned by Councilman Ken Gillanders in February 2008. Votes were taken subsequently to approve the measure; however, it lacked the supermajority, or four votes, to be enacted.

In April, the City Council finally mustered four votes, with Councilwoman Judy Wong, agreeing to support the moratorium for 45 days. The moratorium was further extended for 10 and a half months by the Councilmembers in May.

“I can’t guarantee the moratorium will be successful” conceded Martin on Tuesday night.

Planning Commissioner James LeBerthon made the motion to recommend approval of the two exemptions. It was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission.

The recommendation now goes to the City Council, which will decide whether or not to accept changes to the moratorium.

 

This article was written by Matthew Wong. It was published in the Temple City Voice on October 15, 2008.

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