CVS, Part V of V

Follow Progress For Westhampton Beach

By:  Progress for Westhampton Beach

Continued from CVS, Part IV of V 

cantaloupe

In 1970 the U.S. Supreme Court decided Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc.

Arizona had enacted a law that regulated the packaging of Arizona cantaloupe.  Arizona was of the opinion that its cantaloupe were the most delicious and succulent.  The Supreme Court did not pass upon that question, but it did hold that:

Where a statute regulates even-handedly to effectuate a legitimate local public interest, and its effects on interstate commerce are only incidental, it will be upheld unless the burden imposed on such commerce is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits. “

The great “Unless” is that local government can engage in “even-handed” regulation, not favoring local or disfavoring interstate commerce, and it may still be violating the Commerce Clause.

Now, about CVS, square footage restrictions, zoning, and how these restrictions fare under judicial scrutiny:

The Dormant Commerce Clause and local zoning law collided on the purple island in the Florida Keys — Islamorada 1)Islamorada is also the setting for a Netflix Original Series: Bloodline which has been renewed for a second season.Islamorada, like many communities, was concerned with the incursion of chain stores.  In 2002 the Village of Islamorada had the foresight to adopt a zoning ordinance that prohibited “formula restaurants” which, among other things, limited the size of retail establishments.

Starbucks-free-to-useJoe Cachia ran a floral shop in the Village of Islamorada but wanted to sell this property to Starbucks.  The local ordinance interfered with Joe’s plan to sell and Joe made a federal case of it.  The Federal District Court ruled against Joe and agreed with the village.

However, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit said “not so fast” there are questions of fact that have not been addressed here.  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back for a hearing.

Before having a  hearing the village of Islamorada settled the case.  Mocha Frappuccinos for all the latte lappers, make that a double for Joe Cachia.

If you think the village of Islamorada settled too quickly you should know that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had hit the village with a one-two punch on September 8, 2008 when it issued a second opinion that same day in favor of Walgreens in which it determined that the village ordinance did violate the Commerce Clause and no hearing would be required.

In our village the opposition theme to the CVS application has understandably been “Do we need another drug store?”  This complaint would find traction in a nation with a command economy, it has no legal support in a market economy that relies on competition to provide the best service / product at the best price.

Residents can vote with their feet and shop where they like; but they can not impress village government into the service of their personal predilections, insist that the special exception be denied, and expect success.  See also This is just wrong…

The Board of Trustees has to stick to its knitting.  It should use the special exception law to impose reasonable restrictions that will protect the the health, safety and welfare of the neighbors behind the old bowling alley who live on Potunk and moderate the visual appearance of this larger store.  The Planning Board and the Village Planner have already been working on these conditions.  The loading dock is to be on the interior of the building reducing noise, and the CVS will only occupy part of the old bowling alley and will leave room for other stores along Sunset Avenue and on the north side of the building minimizing the visual impact.  These conditions have already been accepted by CVS.

If the Board of Trustees denies the application or imposes unreasonable conditions the village we will be headed down the rabbit hole to a tea party held in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Even if CVS were to only bring its legal challenge in a New York State court Article 78 proceeding,2)it is hard to imagine CVS would forego federal court where its case could be litigated under 42 USC § 1983, to obtain damages, and attorneys’ fees under 42 USC § 1988. CVS enjoys a presumption that its use of the premises as a pharmacy is in harmony with the local zoning.  See Matter of 7-11 v. Village of Mineola.  

Alice Tea Party

References   [ + ]

1. Islamorada is also the setting for a Netflix Original Series: Bloodline which has been renewed for a second season.
2. it is hard to imagine CVS would forego federal court where its case could be litigated under 42 USC § 1983, to obtain damages, and attorneys’ fees under 42 USC § 1988.

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