Cambridge, Mass., wants vitality and diversity in its squares, but this may exclude bank branches.
On Monday, its City Council issued a resolution asking the city manager and the community development department to determine the ease of imposing expansion moratoriums on certain industries, such as banks, that already have offices within the city's squares.
"Residents have expressed concern that, with the increasing number of banks in Cambridge's squares, and that continuing in that same direction could make the squares less responsive to our citizens' needs, with less room for local and small-business entrepreneurs to move in and flourish," the council said in its resolution.
At the height of branch expansion in the mid-2000s, several cities tried to curb such growth. Batavia, Ill, a city 40 miles west of Chicago, passed a six-month ban in 2004 on branches in its central business district as it examined zoning codes.
Ken Thomas, an independent bank analyst, said that municipalities often impose such limitations because banks pick prime corners but do little to generate tax revenues.