Group considers legal challenge of L.A.'s QSR ban

LOS ANGELES The California Restaurant Association said today that it may take legal action to challenge the one-year ban on quick-service restaurant development that was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council for an impoverished region of the city. The measure, yet to be signed by the mayor, also would offer incentives for full-service restaurants to open in the area.

Aimed at slowing a rise in local obesity rates, the moratorium would apply to a 32-square-mile area that includes parts of South Los Angeles, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park. Supporters of the ban say the area is home to about 400 quick-service outlets.

If approved by the mayor, the ordinance would include incentives to draw more grocery stores to the neighborhoods. The ordinance also has the option of an additional one-year extension.

Researchers contend that the targeted area has higher rates of obesity and diabetes than other parts of the city.

The restaurant industry has opposed the ban, saying quick-service restaurants alone should not be blamed for causing obesity and related health problems.

Jot Condie, the CRA’s president and chief executive, said the association is considering a lawsuit to block the measure if the mayor signs it. The CRA has sued both San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in attempts to overturn menu-labeling requirements adopted there.

Regarding the ban in Los Angeles, Condie said, “We were pretty disappointed that the council would use zoning laws used for promoting public safety and preventing blight” in a misguided effort to “protect us from ourselves.”