Bloomington Council Considers Limiting Chain Restaurants

The Bloomington City Council is considering a proposed resolution that would set stiffer requirements for chain businesses trying to move to the downtown area.

The City Council is considering a resolution that would make it harder for chain businesses to move into downtown cultural districts like Courthouse Square.

Photo: Tom Brinkman

The City Council is considering a resolution that would make it harder for chain businesses to move into downtown cultural districts like Courthouse Square.

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan is calling on the city council to limit the number of chain restaurants downtown.

The proposed resolution that will be considered at tonight’s council meeting mandates the city’s zoning board maintain a balance of local, regional and national-based businesses in the area that includes the courthouse square down to Indiana Avenue and between 6th and 3rd streets.

It also requires those storefronts be in line with the quote “historic character” of the area.

The resolution is a scaled-down version of a resolution Kruzan proposed in 2009 that was quickly quashed. Kruzan says this year’s proposal is not a ban. He says it’s about increasing protections for already-designated cultural areas.

“Do you think an Arby’s, locating on the 4th street restaurant row would change the nature of that location? Do you think that having an Applebee’s in the middle of Kirkwood would change the uniqueness of that important street?” Kruzan said.

Kruzan says he expects some split feelings on the proposal.

He says there are some people who think government shouldn’t be imposing additional regulations on private businesses, but he also says there are some local businesses who feel crowded out by chains.

Susan Bright, co-owner of Nick’s English Hut on Kirkwood Avenue, doesn’t think chain businesses present themselves in quite the same way local ones do.

“We’d prefer to have as many local establishments surrounding us as possible,” she says.

The council will also discuss a proposed ordinance that would create a Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County development near the north end of the B-Line Trail.

The project would include building 35 homes on almost seven acres of undeveloped land south of the intersection of Diamond Street and West Cottage Grove Avenue, near the B-Line Trail.

Will Healey

Will Healey is a reporter for WFIU/WTIU News. He has studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at Fordham University in New York and Journalism at Indiana University's School of Journalism. He is excited to be part of the team and report on issues that impact the lives of Hoosiers.

View all posts by this author »

  • Frank Rizzo

    So, free market capitalism is out the window in Bloomington? This proposal opens itself up to a pretty major legal challenge. Plus, aren’t most ‘chain’ restaurants like McDonalds actually owned by small business franchises? I’d rather eat at Nick’s because they have a better burger than McDonalds, not because my government tells me too.

    Plus, what does this say about the rest of the city? No chains in our precious little downtown, but forget the losers out by College Mall.

    Also, where the hell is the balance in this story? Two sources in favor of the proposal? What is this, Fox News Left? Is there a hammer and sickle in your mission statement?

  • Jess

    I agree! Chain businesses really make the downtown area (or any area in any city) less enjoyable.

    I hope it passes!

  • Catherine

    I support Habitat for Humanity but the new development would remove trees that add greatly to the beauty of the B-Line Trail, and also provide important habitat for urban animals.

  • Pingback: Hot Air | Electron Pencil

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Politics Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook