Store Size Cap – Warwick, NY

The town of Warwick, New York, a rural community about one hour north of Manhattan, enacted a new Comprehensive Plan in 1999 and a new Zoning Code in early 2002. The Comprehensive Plan calls for supporting "small, locally owned businesses and retail centers, which are in character with the Town’s largely rural environment" and encouraging"alternatives to typical modern highway oriented commercial development." To this end, the Zoning Code bars stores over 60,000 square feet and shopping centers with multiple stores that together exceed 80,000 square feet.

The Zoning Code also includes a number of provisions designed to control sprawl, protect farmland and open space, and maintain the community’s historic character. Below is the portion of the Code dealing with the retail size limit.

Excerpt of Warwick Zoning Code

J. Special conditions.
. . .

(48)Individual retail uses shall not exceed 60,000 square feet of gross floor area, whether in one building or more than one building.

(49)A group of retail business uses shall not exceed a total of 80,000 square feet of gross floor area, in all buildings on the lot.


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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.