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Commerical development--economic impact

Martha Morss

According to a local developer, our small town (16,000) in a still rural county is one of the top 100 "under-retailed" locations in the country. People now shop locally as well as in three different larger cities that are 35 to 55 minutes away. Some people like it that way; others might favor adding more stores locally. Modest shopping center growth in the last three years has created some holes in the centers they left. My question is, do local governments have any tools for preventing overbuilding; that is, building that is out of proportion to the local or regional population (usually justified by the developer on the grounds of antipicated)?