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 faƧade 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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