Arlington leaders need to make it simpler to get wholesome meals and tougher to construct greenback shops – KERA Information

Patricia Sinel, a principal planner with town, says shops like Greenback Common and Household Greenback take income away from close by grocery shops and jeopardize growth of latest supermarkets.
“If a greenback retailer comes right into a meals desert, a grocery retailer is reluctant to come back in,” Sinel mentioned.
Greater than 40,000 Arlington residents stay in areas thought-about meals deserts, in accordance with a 2019 U.S. Division of Agriculture research. The company considers census tracts “low revenue and low entry” areas if 20% of residents stay in poverty and 33% stay greater than a mile away from supermarkets.
Areas indicated within the research embody UT Arilngton campus; elements of north Arlington bordering Texas Freeway 360; and a stretch of neighborhoods between South Cooper Avenue, Pioneer Parkway and Interstate 20.
The ordinance requires new shops to construct at the very least one and a half miles from different shops and confines new shops to retail facilities. Town additionally created parameters for low cost shops, together with that they have to be between 5,000 and 15,000 sq. ft, dedicate greater than 20% of their ground area to contemporary or contemporary frozen meals or comprise a prescription pharmacy. The ordinance doesn’t have an effect on present shops.
Council members accepted the ordinance 5-1. District 3 council member Nikkie Hunter voted in opposition to the ordinance, and council members Bowie Hogg and Barbara Odom-Wesley have been absent from the assembly.
Metropolis Council has to vote once more June 28 for the coverage to enter impact.
The vote Tuesday follows months of debate about greenback shops and a broader dialogue of Arlington-area meals deserts. Town’s Unity Council, a city-appointed group tasked with recommending options to socioeconomic disparities, recommended discovering meals desert options.
Odom-Wesley, who chairs the committee that drafted the advice, mentioned in a Jan. 11 council session that greenback shops can hurt entry. Greenback shops compete to rule markets by shopping for land, she added.
“I actually need to see a dedication to making an attempt to reduce the fast progress of those (shops),” Odom-Wesley mentioned.
Richard Weber, who spoke throughout public remark, says he noticed that many of the 34 greenback and low cost shops have been exterior the meals desert areas, which scatter throughout town’s north and central areas.
“It looks like the answer is to not restrict the small field shops, however to really encourage them to supply extra fruit or contemporary produce,” he says.
Sinel says firms seeking to open shops on the town are seldom occupied with together with contemporary meals and, if they’re, can not present an estimate of how a lot of their retailer area might be devoted to supply, and few standing shops supply contemporary choices.
Raul Gonzalez, District 2 council member, says he desires residents to know town is conscious of meals deserts.
“We’ll have a plan of motion, however this is only one method to at the very least get the ball rolling,” he says.
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