Development Moratoria – Moab, UT

Date: 1 Dec 2008 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In January 2007, the town of Moab, Utah, adopted the following ordinance which temporarily prohibits the construction of stores larger than 40,000 square feet, about one-fifth the size of a Wal-Mart supercenter.

The moratorium will remain in place for six months, during which time the city plans to study the impacts of big-box development and consider whether to make permanent revisions to its zoning code. The moratorium was prompted in part by indications that Wal-Mart was seeking a location in Moab.

More than fifty businesses signed a petition calling for the moratorium. “We’re hoping to have an independent impact study done on the implications of having Wal-Mart here,” said Craig Hibberd, who organized the petition drive and drew this cartoon likening Wal-Mart to tamarisk, an invasive shrub taking over the southwest.

Ordinance #2007-03

AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A SIX-MONTH TEMPORARY ZONING REGULATION PROHIBITING THE ERECTION, CONSTRUCTION OR RECONSTRUCTION OF ANY LARGE SCALE RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT OVER 40,000 SQUARE FEET IN ALL ZONES

WHEREAS,the City has performed an initial analysis of the potential for receiving development proposals for large, general and special merchandise stores, sometimes known as superstores and hereinafter known as large scale retail establishments; and

WHEREAS,it is possible that the City will receive a development proposal for a large scale retail establishment within the next six months; and

WHEREAS,the City has determined that many of its existing land use and zoning regulations were adopted when large scale retail establishments were not a normal land use activity; and

WHEREAS, the City’s current land use and zoning regulations may be inadequate to deal with land use concerns caused by the bulk, size and scale of such large retail establishments, especially with regard to transportation, lighting, signage, architectural style, as well as offsite impacts; and

WHEREAS,the development of large scale retail establishments, in the absence of appropriate regulatory guidelines and planning processes, may have irreversible negative impacts upon the City and its inhabitants; and

WHEREAS,further analysis is needed in order to develop the appropriate land use and zoning regulations and mitigation measures for such land uses; and

WHEREAS,the City requires up to six months to engage in the research and planning process to develop the aforementioned land use and zoning regulations and mitigation measures.

NOW, THEREFORE, WE the governing body of the City of Moab do hereby ordain as follows:

1.The erection, construction or reconstruction of any large scale retail establishment over 40,000 square feet is hereby prohibited in all zones within Moab City limits during the effective period of this ordinance.

2.No development applications shall be accepted and no building permits shall be issued for any retail establishment over 40,000 square feet for any zone within Moab City limits during the effective period of this ordinance.

3. The City of Moab Zoning Administrator shall be authorized to enforce this ordinance.

4.This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon passage and shall expire no later than six months following the effective date of this ordinance, unless rescinded upon action of the governing body.

PASSED AND APPROVED THIS 9th DAY OF January, 2007.

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Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.