February 8, 2005

How Big Is Too Big?

There's an interesting graphic showing the relative sizes of a typical downtown retail business, chain drugstore, large supermarket, football field and big box retailers, on the New Rules Project Institute for Local Self-Reliance Web site.

The graphic accompanies a story explaining Bennington, Vt.'s new ordinance banning stores larger than 75,000 square feet, and requiring a review of impact on the community for any store larger than 30,000 square feet.

"Under the ordinance, city officials may approve stores only if the review determines that they will not have an undue adverse impact on local wages, housing costs, or the ability of the city to provide services," the story notes. That means looking at things like jobs created vs. likely jobs lost at existing business, likely loss of tax revenues if other commercial areas are hurt, and how much revenue is likely to stay in the local economy.

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