Tulsa’s city council appeared set to pass a moratorium Wednesday on new dollar stores nearly five months after work on it began, but the proposal was pushed back another week.
Councilors decided not to vote on the moratorium while Councilor Jeannie Cue was absent. She was ill and did not attend Wednesday's meeting.
District One Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper proposed the moratorium, saying dollar stores are affecting north Tulsa residents' health. It initially applied to the entire city but has been narrowed down considerably.
"It restricts the moratorium to three neighborhood plans in the city: the Crutchfield Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, the 36th Street North Small Area Plan and the Greenwood Heritage Neighborhood Sector Plan, also known as the Unity Heritage Neighborhood Plan," said Senior Assistant City Attorney Mark Swiney.
The proposal bans new dollar stores within a mile of an existing one for six months. There have been some other tweaks since the council last discussed the moratorium.
"It prohibits building permits during the period of this moratorium but does not prohibit certificates of occupancy, and the moratorium is also put in place while studies are being performed on the subject of these stores," Swiney said.
Hall-Harper said six months will be enough time to enact spacing requirements in the city zoning code, which she sees as a permanent solution. Those requirements would likely mirror the one in the moratorium.
Hall-Harper has said north Tulsa has too many dollar stores for grocery stores to compete, leaving residents with unhealthy food options.
"When you continue just to feed people dog food, they're going to continue to eat it until you give them something better, and I'm trying to do something better," Hall-Harper said.