Westlake, the Ohio city that successfully stopped a SuperKmart in a long court battle several years ago, is now busy working on a ordinance that would limit free-standing superstores to 60,000 s.f.or less, unless the store is part of a larger shopping center. Stores and shopping centers would be limited by their lot size. A store could be designed up to 99,999 s.f. if it took up no more than 35% of a larger shopping center. Stores over 100,000 s.f. could be built, but they would have to be located near an interstate exit. The City’s law director, who wrote the ordinance, notes that it still allows large shopping center development. “You can still accomodate developments…” he told the Sun Herald newspaper, “..but not the freestanding big box.” The size limit as currently proposed would include all of a store’s floor space, including outdoor sales areas, such as garden centers. Despite its loss in the court, Kmart still owns the 32 acre site where it wanted to place a supercenter. A Lowe’s building supply store is reportedly interested in Kmart’s unused site. The Lowe’s project cannot move forward while the Council is considering the new restrictions. Kmart, by the way, refused to allow the local public library to buy part of the land for a 10,000 s.f. library expansion. How’s that for a pro-community attitude!
The Westlake ordinance has had one reading before the City Council. It has to take a second reading, and then will be reviewed by the Planning Commission. Final action on the big box cap is expected to happen by the late fall. For further information, contact [email protected]