Citizens in Bitterroot, Montana have proposed a zoning ordinance that would limit the size of retail stores, and require developers to measure the impact of their proposals on the local economy. According to the Ravelli Republic newspaper, the proposal is being reviewed by the Ravalli County Planning Department. “We just want to be more proactive about what our community looks like,” one member of the Planning Board said. The proposed ordinance would cap store size at 60,000 s.f. – and if a proposed store was between 25,000 and 60,000 in s.f., developers would have to pay for an impact study. The citizen’s committee hopes to create a flyer outlining the pros and cons of super stores and how they would affect Bitterroot communities. Wal-Mart in town causes jobs to be lost and wages to fall, while smaller businesses close down. “With small businesses, the money goes right back into the community,” the citizen’s group said. “With box stores, the money immediately leaves – that’s not such a good thing.” A developer, Maxim Technologies, has approached the town regarding “a Wal-Mart or other commercial building,” a city official said. But the developer is trying to keep the details of the proposal confidential.
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