OKC Passes Emergency Declaration Concerning 'Food Deserts'
OKLAHOMA CITY - City leaders are hoping to lure grocery stores to a so-called "food desert" by making it harder for other businesses to open their doors.
On Tuesday, OKC City Council passed an emergency declaration on dollar stores and convenience stores in zip code 73111.
New "small box discount stores" can't be approved for six months, unless they dedicate 500 square-feet to selling fresh food.
Tulsa passed a similar ordinance last year.
OKC Councilwoman Nikki Nice says the dollar stores do not provide healthy food options and make it tough for grocery stores to survive.
"They are continuing to place the stores not far from each other. So, they are in competition, friendly competition, and still not providing the adequate needs the community is crying for,” said Councilwoman Nice.
Several grocery stores have closed in the 73111 zip code, including a "Save a Lot" that was open for a short time right next to a Dollar Tree on NE 36th Street.
Tuesday, May 7, the ordinance got the seven votes needed for an emergency declaration.
Oklahoma City says stores can apply for an exception to the rule.