The board of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter Thursday asking its members to speak out against a draft ordinance that seeks to limit chain stores in Malibu's Civic Center area.
The letter encourages business owners and chamber members to attend a community meeting, which is meant to flush out some of the details of the ordinance, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Malibu City Hall.
"It is imperative that decision-makers hear from business owners like you. We ask that you join us at this meeting in telling the City that a Formula Retail Ordinance would do more harm than good," the letter states.
Don Schmitz, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, said the letter was sent out by email Thursday.
"It was something that was worked on collectively by the board," Schmitz said.
In November, the Malibu City Council voted to direct city staff to draft an ordinance to require a conditional use permit for any new chain businesses in shopping centers with more than 10,000 square feet in the Civic Center area.
At that meeting, Schmitz publicly opposed a formula retail ordinance on behalf of the chamber, which represents more than 300 member businesses.
"We will put our resources behind connecting the residents within this community with the businesses. That will work. Putting restrictions on the nimble capitalistic system that we have will not work. You're a good government. I'm an advocate that small government, local government works best, but you cannot effectively insert yourself into the free market system and do anything except damage," Schmitz said.
In the letter, the board said independent studies show that Malibu maintains a healthy diversity of both national and local retailers.
"We believe that nationally recognized businesses actually help smaller local businesses succeed by attracting a larger customer base to our centers," the letter states, adding that Chipotle is an example of a business that serves the community.
The letter points to the chamber's "Shop the Bu" program, which was started to connect residents to local businesses to increase sales.