The arrival of national chain stores often drives-up commercial rents, forcing out small, locally owned businesses that serve the everyday needs of the surrounding neighborhood. This typically occurs when a shopping area becomes a destination for tourists or others who live outside of the immediate area. Neighbors may find their local hardware store or grocery replaced by chain restaurants, apparel stores, and other businesses that can afford to pay higher rents. Enacting a neighborhood serving zoning law can prevent this by requiring that new retail stores demonstrate that a majority of their sales will be derived from the surrounding neighborhood.
Residents of Palm Beach, an island off the coast of Florida, have converted their main commercial district into a "town-serving zone," which caps its stores at 2,000 square feet and impels them to serve primarily "town persons:" those living, or working in Palm Beach. Businesses larger than 2,000 square feet can apply for a special exception use permit provided they have an auditing firm document that more than 50 percent of receipts come from a local zip code.… Read More