Crabby Chronicle Columnist Chuck Nevius on the Valencia Restaurant Ban: "You Can't Put a Moratorium on Progress"

This morning, the Chronicle's banner fuddy-duddy graced us with his thoughts on the proposed temporary 1-year moratorium on new restaurants on Valencia.  As you might imagine, he knows it would be bad policy:

Consider the case of Noe Valley, which implemented a ban on restaurants and coffee shops in the 1980s. The concerns were the same: new food establishments would push rents to the skies, residents wouldn't be able to afford to go out to eat, and the street would turn into an upscale food court. And of course there was always the scary g-word - gentrification.

By 2010, Noe Valley residents were clamoring to repeal the moratorium and embracing the trendy food influx…

“It was no more bars and no more restaurants,” said Robert Roddick, president of the Noe Valley Merchants Association. “As a bar or restaurant would close, we would not issue another permit. We started losing taverns and restaurants.”

Quick fact check here: Valencia merchants have only proposed a 1-year ban on new restaurants overtaking retail spaces, old licenses can still be transferred.  After the year is up, restauranteurs can petition a community board to convert storefronts into eateries. This makes the strict, no-transfer 25+ year ban in Noe Valley largely irrelevant, but, you know, as they say in the newspaper business, “whatever.”

The clincher came when the [Noe Valley] merchants association conducted a survey of what improvements residents would like to see. Diverse restaurants topped the list.

The ban was lifted two years ago, and Roddick says the results have been “fabulous.” Not only has it encouraged new restaurants, it has restored healthy competition.

Again, the Mission isn't Noe Valley.  The Mission already has a diverse set of restaurants, the not “fabulous” part is that the artisanal gárbáge is displacing establishments the community actually frequents and can afford.

“Twenty-four years ago, when we bought our house, it was a dump,” [Noe Valley resident Deb Niemann] said. “Now I couldn't afford to move into the neighborhood.”

The same transition seems to be happening along Valencia Street. My guess is they will learn the same lesson as Noe - you can't put a moratorium on progress.

Considering the attitude of your audience, I'd say you're probably right.

Comments (13)

Nevius?! Pff. Stop paying attention that failed sports writer, already.

Yes, please, who gives a shit.

I’m confused. If Nevius likes Noe Valley so much, why doesn’t he want the Mission to follow in its path?

no “n” in restaurateur

“the community actually frequents and can afford.”
Is the community here Latinos, people born here, or recent transplants like yourself.

How do you know what establishments the community frequents? You make it clear on this site you only go to the “hip” places that have become trendy with pseudo hipster tech nerds like Benders.

Don’t get me wrong, but aren’t you, Eric, and I am sure most of the other trolls on here tech folk? You might not be riding google buses, but just because you are not successful tech transplants does not mean you are not part of the shift happening in the mission.

You have shifted the Mission as much as new businesses.

You are the Tacolicious of mission residents. See the picture of you wearing a tshirt with a taco riding a bike.

A moratorium is such a horrible idea. Why is San Francisco full of shit? The Stalinist bull that gets tossed around in the name of progressivism is hardly that, it is retarded. It retards freedom. I wish you guys were intellectually consistent. One year you mourn the end of four loco, the next you are in favor of business moratoriums. There should be a moratorium on blogs, twitter feeds, instagrams and tumblers. Fuck you, you fucking twee dipshits.

this dude knows whats up for reals. (not joking) time to pack it up and move along.

True or +1, I guess.

The NIMBY that runs this blog and wants his neighborhood not to turn into the marina acts like more of a moron then most in the neighborhood he loves.

But, he has a history of moving into new communities, acting like an over intellectual pompous ass who knows better then everyone, and receiving serious backlash.

Hiding behind a blog is easy. Actually going out into your community and socializing with more then a small set of people is a different story.

Yup, comparing a temporary ban on restaurants on one street to a man who had millions of people put to death sure sounds completely reasonable to me.

What does tech nerd’s complaining about how everyone else is ruining the mission sound like?

Yup. That guy totally Godwin’d himself there.

Funny to compare to Noe since I feel there is no reason to go there, unless you live there. I mean, by keeping people out like that I think it’s the most lackluster neighborhood in SF. Absolutely no reason to go there. Unless I’m visiting my married friend and we want to raid the whole foods bar.

Why go there? 3 or 4 words: 24-HOUR DOUGHNUT SHOP.

Oh, and the property management company that manages my Mission apartment is located there.

Actually, I’d kind of like to live in Noe Valley, but, back in the day, the rents were much higher there because they didn’t have so many crazy people, and urban campers passed-out on the sidewalks. Not sure that would be the same, today.