Common Misconceptions about Article 29
Why fix what’s not broken?
As with all preservation measures, Article 29 applies a proactive approach to a valuable resource shared by all -- Concord Center’s beloved unique character -- and preserves it before it needs fixing. Article 29 would codify and safeguard the existing healthy proportion of formula and independent businesses in Concord Center, so that its current vibrant diversity can endure into the future.
Won’t the bylaw cause more vacancies by keeping formula businesses out during hard times?
Of note, most of the recent vacancies in Concord Center have been associated with the nearly two-year renovation of the old Concord Toy Shop building. It is high rents that typically cause vacancies, not FBBs.
Since the passage of its FBB, West Concord Center is burgeoning with new businesses. Far from a chilling effect, the bylaw has provided a thriving business environment. With only 7 of 10 formula business openings filled in West Concord Center, the bylaw cannot be accused of keeping formula businesses out. This bylaw is especially needed during hard times when the pressure to fill vacancies with any business is at its greatest.
Wouldn’t efforts to expand tourism be a better solution?
While expanding tourism will likely benefit the business community, greater numbers of tourists and visitors will not prevent the incremental spread of formula businesses in Concord Center. If pursued, efforts to enhance tourism should work in parallel with an FBB, not as a substitute for it.
Many towns on the Cape, as well as elsewhere in the country, have enacted Formula Business Bylaws to preserve their town’s unique appeal as a destination point in order to continue attracting tourists.
What is the legality of Formula Business Bylaws?
Legal commentators and courts generally agree that Formula Business Bylaws (FBB) are constitutionally permissible if they are related to legitimate planning concerns, such as preserving uniqueness. Wellfleet’s FBB was overturned in 2015 in MA land court, as it should have been. It was poorly written and improperly applied.
A recent written legal opinion comparing the Concord and Wellfleet FBBs, submitted to the Planning Board, has identified key critical differences between the two, and concludes that Concord’s existing and proposed FBBs are on solid legal ground in light of the Wellfleet court decision. Formula Business Bylaws have been approved, and re-approved, by the Attorney General in MA since the Wellfleet case.