Old Saybrook, CT Bans Superstores

Date: 1 Aug 2002 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

After more than four years of fighting to block three big box retailers, the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, has adopted an ordinance banning stores over 88,000 square feet. That’s about the size of two football fields, but smaller than a typical Home Depot or Target store. The new law also restricts commercial buildings in some parts of town to no more than 25,000 square feet.

Although developers and members of the town’s economic development committee characterized the ordinance as “anti-growth,” zoning commission members cited traffic concerns, strong citizen opposition to additional large-scale development, and a need to protect the town’s character and individuality. Over the last four years, the town has turned down Lowe’s, Home Depot, and a Wal-Mart supercenter.


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Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.