The Deseret News has a story today about Springdale, Utah. "Surrounded on three sides by the soaring red rock cliffs of Zion National Park, this town of about 500 has the kind of charm one would expect from a tiny tourist burg in a scenic location," says reporter Brian Passey. He points out that "a 2008 Forbes magazine travel article included it among the "20 Prettiest Towns" in America. "
In other words, a town ripe for ruining.
Just the place for a Mickey D, a Subway, and on the upper end, PF Chang or Macaroni Grill, right? National Parks are for American families and American families want cheap fast food, right? And it's all good, because-like the Walmart that would undoubtedly follow, carved out of 50,000 square feet of creation's most amazingly beautiful red rock-these places helps the local economy.
Fortunately for those of us who love Zion and the charming little town of Springdale, town officials beg to differ. They put in place an ordinance to block "formula restaurants" from opening in their city, and now a group of investors (incorporated in Utah under the name Izzy Poco) who want to open a Subway, is challenging Springdale's rule.
Other American towns have similar ordinances: Bainbridge Island, Washington.; Bristol, Rhode Island; Cannon Beach, Oregon.; Ogunquit and York, Maine; and Arcata and Solvang in California. The idea is that allowing this type of business in damages the character-and therefore, much of the town's economic value.
Obviously, Izzy Poco is crying unconstitutionality.
What do you think?
Should a town be allowed to protect its character with this type of zoning limitation? Is that curtailing free enterprise? Do you care?