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Thread: Proliferation of dollar stores?

  1. #1
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    Proliferation of dollar stores?

    Does anyone know of creative solutions for controlling the proliferation of dollar stores? There are currently some discussions to use a conditional use approval requirement for all retail over 8,000 ft2. Because the conditional use approval process is so burdensome in our city, I really don't think this is a good idea. It just seems way too heavy handed. All other retail of this size would have to go for conditional use approval. Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions? Also, I'm relatively new to this board, so if someone's already posted/discussed, or if this is in the wrong forum I apologize.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Is the problem the building/site design or clientele? if it is site design you can have sign and facade standards. if it's clientele I think you're out of luck.
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  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Since dollar stores are simply "retail" and generate no impacts other than what is typical for retail (be it a CVS, Verizon store, or JoAnn Fabrics). I don't see how anyone could rationally/logically make a defensible case to treat a dollar store as different from other similarly sized retail.

    In my experience, these types of efforts are usually driven by classism or than anything.
    Last edited by mendelman; 08 Jun 2012 at 12:42 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I agree with Mendelman on this. Dollar stores are classified as General Merchandise Stores in the NAICS system. Their product mix is not much different from what you would see in a drug store like CVS or Walgreens. The major difference is that these stores tend to sell items at a lower price point. (There is a trend toward higher-priced items, especially in the likes of Family Dollar and Dollar General, but keeping with a round number - i.e. $1, $5, $10.) It is also significant that dollar stores are growing at a strong pace even while the rest of the retail industry remains flat. The middle class is increasingly shopping these stores.

    What are the reasons the city wants to prohibit dollar stores?
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    I tend to agree with the comments posted thus far, as I'm not 100% sure what can be done.

    While I am not completely sure of all the reasons, I think one main issue is poor stewardship/ownership of land. Also, the area of town where the conditional use will be in effect could be classified as a food desert and local leaders in the community would rather a proper grocery store supply fresh food than a dollar store.

    I'm sure this is an issue than has come up in other cities struggling to rejuvinate moribund inner city neighborhoods. But I haven't found info on it.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Around here, those dollar stores may be enough to get zoning in parts of our unincorporated areas. Some affluent people were none to happy to see a dollar store go up right next the country club. But as was mentioned, zoning may not help that particular situation but for us, any zoning is better than nothing at all.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bunkjacket View post
    Does anyone know of creative solutions for controlling the proliferation of dollar stores?
    Reducing income inequality.

    Other than that, enforce existing nuisance laws. Nothing creative about that, alas.
    -------
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I agree that dollar stores are general retail. Places such as Family Dollar and Dollar General are generally very well run, and a good alternative for people who don't need to buy in bulk or want to drive miles to the Walmart, Kmart, or Target for the same merchandise. I find them to be incredible time and energy savers.

    What is your rationale for wanting to zone them differently? Retail has a wonderful way of self regulating either they make money or close up. Those that make money provide jobs in the community as well as a valuable service.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bunkjacket View post
    I tend to agree with the comments posted thus far, as I'm not 100% sure what can be done.

    While I am not completely sure of all the reasons, I think one main issue is poor stewardship/ownership of land. Also, the area of town where the conditional use will be in effect could be classified as a food desert and local leaders in the community would rather a proper grocery store supply fresh food than a dollar store.

    I'm sure this is an issue than has come up in other cities struggling to rejuvinate moribund inner city neighborhoods. But I haven't found info on it.
    Dollar stores are now providing some fresh foods...while I haven't seen fresh fruits or veggies, I've seen canned goods, milk, dairy and things like lunch meat at many dollar store, especially the large chain ones.

    I wouldn't want my community to head down the path yours does with regulating Dollar Stores in this economy. Some general appearance standards and sign restrictions for general retail may be enough to keep out the low-bar type stores.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    I thought Houston had no zoning regs at all.

    In our county we had a big battle with a Fred's over sprinklers in a 16K SF building. Generally everything retail over 12K has to have them, but this developer was a local good ole boy who had only a generic set of plans with a note on the cover "unsprinklered where allowed by local code", which was impossible in our state where codes are statewide and locals cannot be less stringent.

    They finally had to knuclke under, after our commission chairman ordered we grant a temp permit pending their appeal for a waiver from the state fire marshal, who the commissioner assured them was "a good Republican"....wrong.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Reducing income inequality.

    Other than that, enforce existing nuisance laws. Nothing creative about that, alas.
    you could also jack up the local sales tax to absurd levels, if your state allows municipalities that sort of power, that is.

  12. #12
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    Example of West St Paul

    FYI - found an interest case about the zoning of dollar stores


    http://www.startribune.com/local/south/140046903.html

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Dollar Store

    First, definitively define "dollar store". Does the store have to have the word "dollar" in it? I read the article in the previous post. I can't believe the town hasn't been sued yet. Regulating a retail sales and service use based on it price point is the sort of thing that gives us urban planners a bad name.

    I think one would need to prove that "dollar stores" are fundamentally different that other retail uses and affect neighboring properties negatively in some measurable way.
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