The law would also ensure that Hudson continues to provide an experience that cannot be found anywhere else--certainly not in a shopping mall. And there are additional economic benefits. The law would ensure that wealth stays in the community, More than once in the discussion of this legislation, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who is researching and drafting the legislation, has pointed out that money spent at a chain store leaves the community the next day, but money spent at businesses with local owners stays in the community longer. Another benefit anticipated is that a ban on formula stores would have the effect of capping the rents being charged for commercial space on Warren Street. Landlords might be more reasonable in their expectations if they knew that renting to a chain, capable of paying more than an independent proprietor, is not a possibility.
Morris maintained that the law needed only "minor tweaks," primarily having to do with the point at which a business needs to declare the number of locations currently operating or planned. She also asserted that there needs to be a "fixed penalty" for opening a store in Hudson without being transparent about the number of other stores located elsewhere. Regarding a penalty, Crystal Peck, counsel to the Council, opined that revoking the certificate of occupancy would be an appropriate penalty for "fraudulently opening." Council president Tom DePietro concurred, remarking, "Yeah, they can't buy their way out of it."
The changes being proposed to the law can be reviewed here. Click on "formula retail draft code."
At the end of the meeting, DePietro proposed a new legislative initiative: a flip tax for people who buy houses, renovate them, and then sell them for a profit. DePietro asserted such a tax would help stabilize the housing economy. He pointed out that Yonkers has had such a tax for years, and Great Barrington just adopted one. Councilmember Ryan Wallace (Third Ward) commented, "It's long overdue." Expect this to be a topic of discussion in coming Legal Committee meetings.
The video of Wednesday's Legal Committee meeting can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.
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