Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What's a Formula Business?

Tonight, at the final Common Council meeting of the year, it is expected that the aldermen will vote on enacting proposed Local Law No. 6 of 2017, the law meant to "preserve community character, local business ownership, and local wealth" by banning chain businesses from Hudson.

After the proposed law was placed on the aldermen's desks back on October, it was referred to the Columbia County Planning Board (CCPB) for a recommendation. The response from the CCPB was received at the informal meeting on December 11. The CCPB found "no significant county-wide or intercommunity impacts" associated with the proposed law but made a number of "informal comments." Several of the comments had to do with omissions in the version of the law submitted to the CCPB, but one of them related to the definition of the prohibited businesses: "A 'Formula Retail use' is hereby defined as a type of retail sales or service activity or retail sales or service establishment that has three or more other retail sales establishments in operation. . . ." The CCPB expressed concern about "the potential impact on locally owned and operated businesses . . . that have three or more locations" and cited the following examples: "Bagel Tyme (3 locations); Steiner's (3 locations); The Wick (Tribute Portfolio/Starwood Hotels and Resorts--numerous locations)."

The revised version of the proposed law raises the threshold for formula business from three locations to four. The CCPB's concern about The Wick being impacted by the proposed law is unfounded. The Wick has been designated a Tribute Portfolio hotel, but that designation, although it is a brand of Marriott, does not make The Wick a "chain hotel." Hotels with the Tribute Portfolio designation are by definition independent hotels with their own character and design and unique signage.

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