Discount stores

No discount stores in Mauldin for 6 months under the city’s moratorium

As new developments continue to sprout from all corners of Mauldin, one type of business you won’t see advertised in the next six months in the city is another dollar store.

The city has temporarily suspended the development of such businesses, with a six-month moratorium on the development of small discount stores adopted by Mauldin city council last week.

The city cites a “potential saturation of discount stores within the city” due to the presence of several discount stores located within a two-mile radius of Mauldin Town Hall.

Mauldin lists the concerns of residents and council members about the development of discount stores among the findings of staff supporting the moratorium on the council agenda:

  • “Discount stores can have an impact on grocery stores and in many cases reduce people’s access to fresh food because they do not provide access to fresh produce.”
  • “Discount stores are becoming a poor substitute for grocery stores.”
  • “Discount stores generally employ fewer people than grocery stores and in some cases can force grocery stores out of the area, creating food deserts, especially if the community doesn’t have multiple grocery stores. “
  • “The city is ‘at the limit’ when it comes to discount stores, the city does not have the capacity to accommodate additional discount stores.”
  • “New discount stores will start to change the character of the city.”

The Greenville News has contacted the South Carolina Retail Association to comment on the moratorium on discount stores in Mauldin.

The moratorium aims to put such development on hold for a period while city staff take the time to review zoning laws and land use codes to present “recommended amendments to address” this “potential saturation. “, according to the description of the item on the council’s agenda. The city plans to limit the density of these stores and establish requirements for the sale of fresh food, in accordance with the moratorium ordinance.

The newest discount store about to open is a Dollar Tree under construction on North Main Street, just outside the 24-acre area Mauldin has designated for downtown development. However, Mayor Terry Merritt and City Councilor Taft Matney said the moratorium was not a response to this store.

Merritt said he heard residents worrying about the location of this store, especially traffic, but he didn’t think “it would continually generate a lot of negative comments.”

“Traffic traffic – it happens,” he said.

Instead, the decision to consider the six-month ban on discount stores grew out of a national trend that Matney has read about, the city councilor said. Matney said he asked city staff to look into the matter in November and review the city’s zoning as it prepares for new developments “to make sure projects fit into certain areas. and that we move forward in a way that corresponds to 2020. ”

“We’re just trying to get ahead,” Merritt said. “As we are looking to develop a downtown area and the surrounding areas to make it more modern with more amenities, we wanted to take the time to get on with our zoning laws.”

The city moratorium ordinance defines small discount stores according to the following specifications:

  • Area of ​​less than 10,000 square feet
  • Sells a variety of household and personal items, food and drink, but no gasoline
  • Does not have a prescription pharmacy
  • Designate less than 15 percent of its space for fresh food and vegetables

A moratorium on this type of activity is potentially unprecedented in South Carolina.

Steven Pelissier, executive director of the Council of Appalachian Governments, said he was not aware of any other moratoriums on small-box discount stores in Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, Spartanburg, Oconee or Cherokee counties.

And statewide, Jeff Shacker, head of field services at the Municipal Association of South Carolina, said there had been some moratoria that “apply broadly to development” as well as others aimed at curb the development of multi-family housing in other municipalities, but that his organization is not aware of any other specific moratoriums on the development of small-box retailing in South Carolina.

You can connect with journalist Gabe Cavallaro on Twitter @gabe_cavallaro or or email him at [email protected]

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