Store Size Cap – Walpole, NH

On March 14, 2000, the residents of Walpole voted overwhelmingly to enact a 40,000-square-foot size limit on new retail stores and restaurants. The new law was adopted following attempts by Wal-Mart to build in the community in 1999. The retailer withdrew in response to strong opposition from residents. To prevent other large-scale retailers from setting their sights on this small New Hampshire community, Walpole residents decided to enact the following size cap ordinance.


Article VI

Commercial District

A. Preamble

Thepurpose for establishing a Commercial District is to provide within the Town ample area in which business and the sale of merchandise can be conducted with its inherent traffic, loading, parking, and activity normally unpleasant in close proximity to restful and comfortable residences. B Uses Permitted:

A building may be erected, altered or used and a lot may be used or occupied only for the following purposes and in accordance with the following provisions:

1. Any use permitted in Residential District Type B under the same provisions as apply to residences in said district.

2. Lodging houses, apartment houses, hotels, inns, motels, tourist courts, cabins, including such retail businesses within these permitted buildings as is conducted for the convenience of the residents or guests shall be permitted.

3. Shops, restaurants, and other retail establishments not exceeding 40,000 square feet in gross floor area.

4. Theaters, halls, clubs, and amusement centers.

5. Greenhouses and florist shops.

6. Undertaking establishments.

7. Business and professional offices and banks.

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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.