The town board of Eastchester, New York has banned "fast casual" chain restaurants like Panera, Cosi, and Quiznos. Changes to the zoning code of the Westchester County town will prohibit any restaurant with more than 15 locations nationwide from setting up shop, reports News 12 Westchester. Fast food restaurants like McDonald's were already prohibited under town laws, but chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts who already have locations in Eastchester will be grandfathered in under the new rules.
Speaking with The Journal News, Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita explained the decision was a reaction to a new threat to the Eastchester dining scene: "Hybrid" fast food restaurants with "milliard decor." But is a Panera really all that terrifying? Yes, Colavita says in an interview with Fox 5 News: "Eastchester is a very upscale community, and we have a great restaurant base in our town. And we felt that it wasn't appropriate to have that kind of character in our town." Colavita also cited concerns about increased traffic and noise that large chains would bring to the narrow main corridor of Eastchester. Ultimately, the decision came as an assement of "goals" for Eastchester. Says Colavita, "You can go get your sandwich in Larchmont. We aren't going to cheapen the town with fast food or these formula fast-quick casual places."
While some local business owners have expressed support for the new measures, not all the Eastchester dwellers are as pleased. An "unscientific" poll conducted by the Eastchester Daily Voice suggests that roughly 30% of residents think the decision "is a mistake by town officials." Some residents have graver concerns. "I think its unconstitutional," one resident told News 12 Westchester, while another expressed deeper-seated fears of her local government saying, "I think they want to start policing everything we do." Below, the report.
News 12 Westchester : New zoning law bans chain restaurants from entering Eastchester
· New zoning law bans chain restaurants from entering Eastchester [News 12 Westcehster]
· Eastchester bans fast-casual chain eateries [The Journal News, via Slate]
· Eastchester bans fast-casual chain restaurants [Fox 5 News]
· All Nanny States Coverage on Eater [-E-]