Big Box Retailer Ordinances Work to Integrate Retail into Communities

Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in News | 0 comments

Big Box Retailer Ordinances Work to Integrate Retail into Communities

EXCERPTS FROM BDCNETWORK.COM “TAMING THE BIG BOX” – Communities are fighting back against large discount retailers, which for decades have, under the impetus of furious national expansion plans, thrown up standalone, cookie-cutter behemoths with little thought to architectural design, land-use planning, or community development issues.

Enacted in 1995, (the City of Fort Collins, Colorado’s) “Design Standards and Guidelines for Large Retail Establishments” regulate everything from fa├žade detailing and landscaping to building orientation and parking lot configuration, even down to the type of fencing. The regulations have become a model for others, including Tucson, Ariz., and Dane County, Wis.

“We’re not looking for high-end materials like copper flashings or wood trim work,” says Mike Slavney, principal with Madison, Wis.-based planning firm Vandewalle & Associates, who recently authored big-box ordinances for several towns in Dane County, Wis., including Stoughton and Mt. Horeb. “We want architecture and site planning that you would find in a quality office or multifamily building.”

Slavney provides a few specific examples from ordinances in Dane County:

  • Decorative concrete block walls vs. plain cinder block

  • Aluminum picket fencing for outdoor display areas and to conceal dumpsters, loading docks, and mechanical systems vs. standard chain link fencing

  • Extensive foundation landscaping vs. plain aprons in front of the building

  • Hard materials (e.g., stucco and concrete block) for the bottom eight feet of the building vs. soft exterior materials that can be dented by carts, forklifts, or vehicles.

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