City council sets hearing on food desert ordinance

The city council plans a public hearing Dec. 17 on a “healthy neighborhoods” zoning ordinance to fight junk-food proliferation in northeast Oklahoma City.

The measure would set standards for “small-box” retailers in the 73111 ZIP Code, an area marked by above-average mortality rates and below-average life expectancy.

“There is not a single grocery store in that one ZIP code of 7,000 residents,” Ward 7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice, the ordinance’s leading advocate, said Tuesday.

The zoning “overlay” would require a retailer such as Dollar General to devote at least 500 square feet to fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, or to have a pharmacy, in order to open within a mile of another small-box discounter.

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