Public opposition to Richmond District Starbucks
cited by supervisors
Illustration courtesy, mit.edu
By Emmett Berg, Fog City Journal contributing editor
Opposition to a Starbucks coffeeshop inside a Toyota service
building on Geary Boulevard in the Richmond district was cited
by San Francisco supervisors as they overruled staff today and
denied the coffee giant an operating permit.
The Toyota showroom and repair facility under development at
4041 Geary Boulevard was proposing to locate a Starbucks next
to its lobby. In June the proposal was approved by the city Planning
Commission in a 4-2 vote.
The site was formerly occupied by Cala Foods before Toyota of
San Francisco took it over. An official for Toyota said the idea
was to have a better place for customers waiting to pick up their
vehicles at the dealership.
An appeal of the Planning Comission decision brought the matter
to the threshold of the Board of Supervisors, where members heard
from city planners indicating the Starbucks proposal met zoning
codes and was a fit on a strip of Geary that includes a Taco Bell
and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
A city analysis found there were at least 15 coffeehouses already
servicing the neighborhood. A Starbucks representative pointed
to research indicating small businesses would be unhurt by the
presence of the familiar brand, and that the corporation was an
ally to communities.
Those arguments did not resound above the din of the crowded
Among the several-dozen speakers who testified in opposition,
a number seemed to prefer any other retailer as long as it was
not Starbucks. They were armed with petitions and submitted findings
indicating that as many as 25 coffee houses presently exist in
surrounding neighborhood. The 80 Starbucks locations already in
San Francisco, opponents said, were enough.
Supervisors voted 9-1 to deny the permit. Supervisor Ed Jew cast
the lone vote in support of the permit.
Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval was absent.