It’s possible to stop a Wal-Mart with one sentence. A growing number of communities across the country have done it. Covington Township, Pennsylvania found out this week just how simple it can be. Roughly four months ago, Covington passed a zoning ordinance limiting the size of commercial buildings to 50,000 s.f. When rumors of a proposed Wal-Mart project near routes 435 and 502 began circulating in town, the size cap was the one thing that put that issue to rest. When the Times-Tribune contacted Wal-Mart to comment on the rumors, what the company had to say was instructive. “We have no plans to build in Covington Township,” a Wal-Mart spokesman told the newspaper. “It is definitely not an active project, though we have been looking at many new locations throughout northeastern part of the state. There’s no way we could build with that ordinance in place. It pretty much stops us in our tracks.” The land in question was also partly zoned residential. But the simple fact is, a size cap is a Wal-Mart killer, along with any other large retail format.
It’s far easier to stop Wal-Mart “in its tracks” before they apply, then after their proposal has been filed. For examples of big box ordinances, contact [email protected], or go to www.walmartwatch.com/battlemart, and search by “caps.”