On Monday, October 19th, Manvel City Council voted on the placement of a 2-mile distance requirement between small box discount stores (Dollar General), gas stations, and convenience stores. The vote went in favor of the new restrictions 5-1. Dan Davis was the lone “Nay” vote.
If you look at the map above, the green circles represent the small box discount stores (SBDS). The red circles represents gas stations. If you are familiar with the city you know that we only have one option to buy food and it is at the Dollar General on SH 6. The other two SBDS are located outside city limits. The one to the north is in Pearland and the one to the west in Rosharon. According to the ordinance “language”, the stores outside city limits still count. Looking at the map, the only place left to open such a business without having to apply for a “special use permit” (SUP) is a small open field in the middle of the city.
Until the HEB opens, these 3 Dollar General stores are pretty much the only place to go buy some food if a full grocery is not needed. Shouldn’t it be the market that decides how many stores a city can absorb?? Also, the city mandates that 10% of the surface before “healthy” food. What is the definition of healthy food?? Who, if anybody, enforces that?? Again, shouldn’t the market dictate what people want to buy?? When the government tries to control people’s lives, which is not their mandate, they always make losers and winners. Public safety, roads, and utility maintenance should be their focus. Unfortunately, average citizens do not care or have time to pay attention to city politics. City politics affect our lives more directly than what goes on in Washington DC.
Regarding the gas stations, one can argue we already have enough of them, especially on SH6. Again, the market should decide. If we can lure more passing by drivers to stop and fuel in our city, it brings more tax revenue.
All those restrictions on SBDS and gas stations make you wonder if it was, in a way, passed to decrease competition to the future HEB.