Store Size Cap – Northampton, MA

In May 2002, the Northampton City Council enacted ordinances prohibiting retail stores larger than 90,000 square feet, and requiring that developers proposing stores larger than 20,000 square feet either construct pedestrian-friendly, two-story buildings contiguous to the street or pay a $5 per square foot mitigation fee. The fee will be used to fund economic development activities designed to offset the impact of retail sprawl on downtown businesses.

To view the rules, go to Northampton’s Zoning Regulations. The size limits are found in the Table of Use Regulations in Chapter 350a. The rules regarding the design of commercial buildings and the mitigation fees are under Site Plan Approval in Chapter 350-11. 

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Stacy Mitchell

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.