The West Hollywood City Council voted Tuesday to have a consultant conduct an economic impact study to see how the city’s fur ban will affect fur retailers.
The council placed the action on its consent calendar; therefore, it passed 5-0. Keyser-Marston will conduct the study — by surveying fur retailers within city limits — for $25,000, which will be pulled from the city’s general fund reserves.
“If it appears that a significant number of our retailers will be adversely impacted or a particular product … would [suffer] a significant impact, then we have the ability to make modifications or changes,” Mayor John Duran said.
The council approved the fur ordinance, which bans the sale of fur within city limits, on first-read in September, with the final approval of an amended ordinance occurring in November. Some business owners and organizations had been very outspoken about the ban, saying it would negatively affect the city’s fashion district in a poor economy.
With an implementation date of September 2013, however, the council has an opportunity to refine the ordinance. Duran said the council would need three votes to amend it further.
He said the city expects the economic impact study to be finalized this summer. If it shows that the ban will significantly harm a business or its products, the council can hold a hearing to debate any alterations, Duran said.
Otherwise, “there wouldn’t be a need for a hearing,” he said.
Duran requested that retailers accommodate for the survey by sharing data and helping the city make an analysis.
“Of course, it’s to their benefit to open their books to collect that information,” he added.
As it stands now, the ban includes an exemption for used clothing that is sold by private entities, non-profit organizations and resale shops. It defines “fur apparel” as any kind of clothing with fur attached.
While Duran said feedback from the city’s approval of the fur ban has died down in recent months, one out-of-state individual has sent the city a letter of an intent to sue.
“He’s not, as far as we know, attached to the fur industry,” Duran said, adding that the individual would need to show that he had been affected by the ban in order to sue. “We don’t know who this person is, so we don’t know if he has standing or not.”
When the study is completed, the council will present the findings to both proponents and opponents, the mayor said.
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