The City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee, which serves the West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Leimert Park-South/Southeast Los Angeles areas, recently voted to restrict new stand-alone fast food restaurants from being constructed within a half-mile of pre-existing restaurants in effort to improve the health of the residents in these neighborhoods.
The decision is a follow-up to the decision made by the council two years ago, which banned all new fast food restaurants from opening in the area. That initiative expired in September.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, 30 percent of adults in the South Los Angeles area are obese. More than 28 percent of Latinos, and 27 percent of African Americans are obese, compared to 16.6 percent of Whites in the area.
“With the alarmingly high rates of diet-related health problems such as obesity and diabetes in South Los Angeles, these restrictions are a fair, common-sense way of providing South L.A. residents additional food choices that exist in West L.A. and other parts of the city,” said Councilman Bernard Parks.
“Westwood and Venice have community design guidelines for new construction and renovations,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry. “South Los Angeles deserves the same.”
The Los Angeles City Planning Commission has reported that fast food restaurants make up more than 71 percent of the businesses in South L.A., while they only comprise 40 percent of the businesses in West L.A. and 47 percent in L.A. County overall.
The report also stated that residents in South L.A. have fewer choices in grocery stores and full service sit-down restaurants.
Under the new guidelines, new fast food restaurants, in addition to staying a half-mile away from similar existing establishments, must also comply with other requirements related to landscaping, parking and aesthetic guidelines.
Fast food restaurants that are part of shopping centers or other mixed-use projects will not have to comply with the new guidelines.