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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22159
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 13, 2017 03:09 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the effects of large grocery restrictive covenants on communities across the Commonwealth
 
In the near future, I intend to introduce a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to conduct a study on the effects of large grocery restrictive covenants on communities across the Commonwealth.

Currently, it is industry standard for grocery stores in urban and rural communities to place usage restrictions in their property deeds to prohibit competing food retailers from operating on the property once it is transferred or sold. For example, if a food retailer in Philadelphia were to close and they had this usage restriction in place, no other food retailer would be able to operate on that property. As a result, affected communities are often stripped of their only quality food source and are left with higher-priced convenient stores and fast food chains.

In order to learn the effects of large grocery restrictive covenants on communities across the state, my resolution directs JSGC to conduct a staff study and examine the following:
  • Barriers or restrictions to investments involving large grocery stores or supermarkets;
  • The nature and number of these restrictive covenants, with attention given to at least one of the major metropolitan areas in the Commonwealth;
  • Quality food access in lower-income rural communities; and
  • Instances where a food retailer would develop a property if a restrictive covenant prohibiting the property’s use as a grocery store or supermarket were not in place.

A recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture found that nearly 30 million Americans live in areas that are underserved by supermarkets or other healthy food retailers. Such communities suffer from obesity, diabetes and other diet-related disease at disproportionately higher rates. Therefore, it is imperative that we work to promote healthy, affordable food retail across the Commonwealth.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this very important resolution.

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Introduced as HR154