S. LA bans new stand-alone fast food eateries

EXPOSITION PARK, Calif. How many fast food eateries does one area really need? The Los Angeles City Council thinks South Los Angeles and South East Los Angeles need new choices as these regions face an over-concentration of such restaurants.

"This is not an attempt to control people as to what they can put into their mouths. This is an attempt to diversify their food options," said councilmember Jan Perry.

Perry's new plan bans new so-called "stand alone" fast food restaurants opening within half a mile of existing restaurants.

Such stand-alone establishments are on their own property, but those same restaurants are OK if they're a part of a strip mall, according to the new rules.

"Give a grocery store and a housing combination a chance to come in," Perry said.

The city says around 72 percent of restaurants in South L.A. are fast food establishments, which is much higher than West L.A. and countywide averages which range in the 40s.

Near the University of Southern California on Figueroa Street alone, there is a McDonalds, Panda Express, Carls Jr., Jack in the Box, Subway and Del Taco all within about a block.

Residents had mixed reactions to the new plan.

"People don't need to be told what to eat or what they want to eat. To me, it's not right, especially with employment right now," said South L.A. resident Joel Rodriguez.

"I like food, so I'm open for new ideas and new restaurants to come into the area instead of the same old thing all the time," said another South L.A. resident Toni Stephens.

The city council also discussed the possible addition of a Fresh & Easy grocery store at 54th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard.

However, there are zoning concerns for the area that may stop the store from ever being built.

Many supporters of the grocery chain attended the Wednesday meeting, but a final decision was not reached at the time of this report.

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