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Fast-food ban may be on the menu in San Jose

SAN JOSE Calif. Three members of the San Jose City Council on Thursday proposed a one-year moratorium on the opening of new fast-food restaurants there, a move similar to one approved in Los Angeles last month.

Though concern about rising obesity rates in the city is a factor, the lawmakers behind the proposal say they want to study how growth of quick-service restaurants fits into the city’s master plan.

“The fast-food industry has grown exponentially,” said Rolando Bonilla, communications director for City Council member Nora Campos, one of the sponsors. “We don’t even know how many there are or how many are approved on a quarterly basis.”

Bonilla said one goal is to ensure that city residents have dining choices that include full-service eateries, mom-and-pop restaurants and grocery stores.

“What we don’t want in the future is an environment where fast food is the only option,” he said.

The proposal is scheduled to go before the City Council's rules committee on Aug. 20. If approved, it would go before the full council for a vote.

The city attorney in San Jose has been asked to help define what would qualify as “fast food.” In Los Angeles, where the moratorium scheduled to go into effect Sept. 14 would apply only to certain neighborhoods, the definition includes restaurants offering food on or off premises that have a limited menu, sell food prepared in advance or heated quickly, have no table service and serve food in disposable wrappers or containers.

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