Dollar Store Restriction — Kansas City, Kan.

In March 2016, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City’s regional planning commission, passed a dollar store dispersal policy prompted by community concerns about the growth of chain discount stores and lack of access to healthy food. In response to legal concerns about an administrative error in the policy’s passage and new evidence in support of the local government’s authority to promote access to fresh food and regulate dollar stores, the commission voted unanimously to enact an updated version of the ordinance in February 2019.

The city’s ordinance requires a special use permit for new “small box variety stores” or dollar stores, establishing a “separation requirement” that new development be a minimum distance of 10,000 feet from existing stores or within 200 feet of residentially zoned properties. The policy defines a “small box variety store” as “a store of 15,000 square feet or less which sells at retail an assortment of physical goods, products, or merchandise.” Retailers that dedicate 15% of shelf space to fresh or frozen food, less than 2% of their shelf space to food of any kind, contain a prescription pharmacy, or sell gasoline, are not included in the ordinance’s definition of a “small box variety store.” An excerpt from the updated ordinance follows.

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Ordinance Amendment — Chapter 27, Planning and Development, Article VIII, Section 27-340 and 27-593

This document provides the ordinance language as passed and approved by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County Commission in February 2019. Additional detail about the passage of this amendment are available in the Commission Meeting Minutes.


AN ORDINANCE providing a definition of “small box variety store” and requiring a special use permit for new small box variety stores; amending Sections 27-340 and 27-593 to Chapter 27, Article VIII, of the 2008 Code of Ordinances and Resolutions of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas.

WHEREAS, a significant number of small box variety stores are already in operation in Kansas City, Kansas; and

WHEREAS, many of the small box variety stores are currently in close proximity to one another; and

WHEREAS, while it is recognized that small box variety stores may be the only convenient source of some food items for people in areas underserved by traditional grocery stores, it is also recognized that small box variety stores offer limited healthy fresh food options, especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh or frozen meats; and

WHEREAS, many small box variety stores do not include WIC essential items and therefore are not certified to accept WIC coupons; and

WHEREAS, 10% of Wyandotte County households have no access to a vehicle, and therefore according to experts, in order to adequately reach these shoppers, fresh food should be available less than a one-quarter mile walk from each home; and

WHEREAS, while it is necessary to continue to allow the presence of small box variety stores, it is also necessary to regulate them and to encourage stores to offer more healthy fresh food options; and

WHEREAS, such regulations will promote the efficient use of land and resources in Kansas City, Kansas and are necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Kansas City, Kansas; and

WHEREAS, the findings contained in the Crossroads Resource Center’s “Kansas City, Kansas Healthy Food Assessment” dated October 2017 and the City of New Orleans’ “Small Box Retail Diversity Study” dated December 18, 2018 are incorporated by reference herein. Copies of the findings are available online at https://www.crcworks.org/kswyco17.pdf and https://www.nola.gov/getattachment/City- Planning/Major-Studies-and-Projects/Small-Box-Retail-Diversity-Study/Small-Box- Retail-Diversity-Final-Report.pdf/ , and are also available for public inspection during regular office hours of the Unified Government Clerk, Municipal Office Building, 701 N. 7th Street, Kansas City, Kansas.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE UNIFIED GOVERNMENT COMMISSION OF WYANDOTTE/COUNTY/KANSAS CITY, KANSAS:

Section 1. That Chapter 27, Planning and Development, Article VIII, Section 27- 340 and 27-593 of the 2008 Code of Ordinances and Resolutions of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, are hereby amended to read as follows:


Chapter 27, Planning and Development, Article VIII

Sect. 27-340. — Definitions.

Small box variety store means a store of 15,000 square feet or less which sells at retail an assortment of physical goods, products, or merchandise directly to the consumer, including food or beverages for off-premises consumption, household products, personal grooming and health products, and other consumer goods. Small box variety stores do not include retail stores that:

(1) dedicate at least 15% of shelf space to fresh or fresh frozen food;

(2) dedicate less than 2% of shelf space to food of any kind;

(3) contain a prescription pharmacy, or

(4) offer for sale gasoline or diesel fuel.

Fresh or fresh frozen food means food for human consumption that is unprocessed, or otherwise in its raw state; food that was quickly frozen while still fresh. This includes unprocessed meat and seafood.

Sec. 27-593. – Allowable special uses.

(b) The following uses are permitted only on approval of a special use permit regardless of the zoning district of the proposed location:

(21) Small box variety stores only in C-2 general business district, C-3 commercial district, M-1 light industrial and industrial park district, M-2 general industrial district, and M-3 heavy industrial district subject to the following criteria:

a. Separation Requirements

1. No small box variety store shall be located within 10,000 feet of any other small box variety store or within 200 feet of any property used primarily for a single-family residence, a two-family residence, a town home, or any apartment building. The separation distances shall be measured from property line of the small box variety store to the property line of the property containing the residential use. This separation provision shall not apply to any small box variety store that can demonstrate to the Unified Government that they were in operation at the location requested in the license application prior to the effective date of this article, and that they have operated continuously under the same business name since that time.

b. Signage

1. Following all permanent sign requirements under section 27-727.

c. Façade, Landscaping, and Screening

1. All commercial design guidelines must be met for all facades including, but not limited to, the creation of quality development with respect to site planning, architectural design and landscaping.

2. Commercial uses in industrial districts shall be subject to commercial design guidelines.

 

Marie Donahue
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Marie Donahue

Marie Donahue was a Research Associate with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy and Independent Business Initiatives in 2018-2019. She analyzed and wrote about the implications of corporate concentration and monopoly in these sectors.