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Washington, DC, May 31, 2001—The Competitive Enterprise Institute will testify tonight as the Fairfax County Planning & Zoning Commission meets to consider a hotly debated zoning amendment regarding drycleaners. CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman will discuss how existing businesses can misuse zoning regulations to restrict new competitors.
The Fairfax hearing involves a proposed zoning amendment that would moderately expand the size of permissible dry cleaning operations in retail commercial areas. The hearing comes in the wake of a zoning dispute that may shut down the Fairfax store of Dryclean Depot. The Dryclean Depot chain, which offers no-frills drycleaning at about half the price of conventional drycleaners, has been the subject of numerous zoning challenges from established drycleaning stores in Maryland and Virginia. The Fairfax store has been operating since early 1998, but its occupancy permit was ruled invalid after another Fairfax drycleaner complained to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Mr. Kazman will testify on how zoning regulations can be abused by business to stifle new competitors. “Restricting competition is widely recognized as an invalid purpose for zoning regulations,” said Mr. Kazman. “Nonetheless, there is a widely recognized danger that valid zoning rules can be improperly used for this purpose at the instigation of businesses hoping to restrict competition. The ultimate victim is the consumer, who is subjected to both restricted choice and higher prices.”
What: Fairfax County Zoning Board hearing on Dryclean Depot
Who: Sam Kazman, General Counsel, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Where: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Board Auditorium, 2d floor, Fairfax VA
When: 8:15 p.m.
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact the media relations department at [email protected] or 202.331.1010.