Chicago Codes
Consumer Protection Ordinance Passed by City Council

On September 14th the Chicago City Council passed legislation that regulates restrictive land-use agreements or covenants used by local grocery and drug stores. Such practices, common in this particular industry, are meant to prevent competing establishments from emerging in communities.

Prior to this new ordinance, grocery and drug stores could exclude competitors from taking over land vacated by shops. This leaves consumers with limited access to food and health-care products once a business closed in an area.

Alderman Manuel Flores (1st) and Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) initially voiced concern for the anti-competitive and anti-consumer covenants when noting that such agreements were negatively impacting residents in their wards. Earlier this summer, the Zoning and the Economic, Capital and Technology Development committees passed the Consumer Protection Ordinance before it was voted on by Council members.

This new piece of legislation targets larger stores with areas exceeding 7,500 square feet. Grocery and drug stores can be exempted from the ordinance if the business is relocated up to one mile from the previous location within three years.

The Consumer Protection Ordinance is the first of its kind in the United States.

"Regulating restrictive covenants puts Chicago ahead of the rest of the country," said Alderman Laurino. "My City Council colleagues and I hope that this ordinance will become a national model for public policy."

For more information on the regulations governing land-use, log-on to ChicagoCodes.com.