Plans to bring chain outlets such as Starbucks and Subway to a small California town have locals up in arms over what they see as a threat to their town's historic character.
"Acton, a former mining town established during the gold rush of the late 1800s, is "the home of city folk who want a little country life", according to its website, a rare unspoiled pocket situated in a mountain valley dotted with historical buildings and crisscrossed by horse trails."
"But now developers from San Francisco want to introduce a slice of homogenous modern America with a Starbucks, Subway sandwich shop and chain Chinese takeaway, ubiquitous traits of the anonymous urban sprawl that proliferates nationwide."
"'It just does not fit our community,' said Ray Billet, a town council member who has lived in Acton since 1953 and says it had changed little in that time."
"The developers, United Growth, plan to erect four buildings with at least five chain outlets including a Starbucks on a 2.4 acre plot that would cater to both locals and commuters using a nearby freeway."
"Residents say they have been told the project will bring an estimated extra 4,400 cars a day to the location, which is next to a school, pave over a horse trail and necessitate the first street lamps and traffic lights - at least four sets are planned - in the town's history."