Store Size Cap – Norway

Many countries have taken steps to limit or bar large-scale retail stores and malls, particularly in areas outside of city centers. The intent of these laws is to protect existing local retail districts and to prevent urban sprawl and automobile dependency.

Inthe United States, planning and zoning authority is vested almost exclusively with state and local governments. In other countries, the national government exercises control over zoning issues and has the power to issue a national ban on large-scale retail stores.

Belowis the text (translated by Jack Brondum) of a Norwegian law enacted in January 1999, which placed a five year moratorium on the construction of retail centers larger than 3000 square meters (32,300 square feet).

National regulation for the temporary cessation of establishment of retail centers outside city centers and metropolitan areas

(Translated by Jack Brondum)

Stipulatedby royal resolution, January 8, 1999, with authority deriving from the Planning and Building Law of June 14, 1985, #77 17-1, second sentence. Submitted by the Department of Environmental Protection.

1. Objectives

Theobjective of this national regulation is to provide stronger regional direction for the establishment and expansion of large retail centers. The intent is to strengthen existing downtowns and metropolitan areas, avoid development leading to unnecessary urban sprawl, and prevent increased dependency on automobiles and diminished access for persons without access to automobiles. The long-term objective is to achieve more buoyant and robust development of cities and metropolitan areas.

2. Temporary cessation of establishment of retail centers

Withoutthe consent of the County Commissioner, it is prohibited to begin the process of building new retail centers more than 3000 m2 in area or to expand existing retail centers resulting in a total area exceeding this figure. Included in the term "retail center" are retail establishments housed in separate buildings or building complexes established and run as unique entities, as well as sales requiring customer or membership cards to participate.

3. Scope

The scope of this regulation corresponds to 1 of the Planning and Building Law, with the exceptions noted in 4.

4. Exceptions

This prohibition does not extend to:

I Establishments or expansions in city centers or metropolitan areas classified as having Level 2 or 3 centrality, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics’ Standard of Community Classification, 1999.
II Establishments or expansions in city centers or metropolitan areas and city sections and other local centers if the establishment’s size is in appropriate proportion to the size, function, and surrounding business community of the place in question.
III Businesses trading in goods that require large amounts of space. This includes businesses involved in the sale of automobiles or other motor vehicles, agricultural machinery, lumber, and other large building materials, and the sales of nurseries/garden centers.
IV Establishments or expansions clearly defined in the regulation plan which is in accord with guidelines for the localization of trade and other service functions of the relevant County Plan authorized after the effective date of this regulation.

5. Documentation requirement

Inorder to qualify for the exceptions in 4, applicants must provide appropriate documentation of their claims, in accordance with the Planning and Building Law, Chapter XVI.

6. Effective date and duration

This national regulation goes into effect on February 1, 1999, and will remain in effect for five years.

Theregulation supersedes earlier regulations in accordance with the Planning and Building Law 20-6, last sentence. It shall serve as the basis for any new planning and the basis for resolution of any conflicts that may arise from its promulgation. New building or demolition permits in conflict with this regulation may not be submitted, in accordance with the Planning and Building Law.

Thisrestriction does not apply to legal building and demolition permits, in accordance with the Planning and Building Law, obtained by the effective date of this regulation.

7. Authority and handling of court cases

Thisnational regulation is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. In accordance with 13 of the Planning and Building Law, the County Commissioner is given the authority to decide whether consent per 2 of this regulation shall be given. The County must always be given a hearing before any decision is made. Applications to establish or expand a retail center that require the consent per 2 of this national regulation shall be submitted to the municipality. The municipality shall evaluate whether the application conforms to this national regulation and forward the application with its comments to the County Commissioner for a decision.

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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.