Discount stores

North Royalton imposes a one-year moratorium on new discount stores

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio – The city has established a one-year moratorium on new “little box” discount stores, such as Dollar General and Dollar Tree, under a city council ordinance unanimously approved in October.

This means that North Royalton will ban the opening of any new small-box retail stores for one year until city officials can, as part of their master plan review process next year, review and discuss any zoning requirements they might want to create for retailers, including small box stores. stores.

“One of the main problems with dollar stores is that they don’t tend to want to spend money to look good or to look like part of the community,” the city councilor said. Vincent Weimer at a board committee meeting in September. “They tend to want to throw away their cheap plastic box store look, and that’s not what I think we really want here in North Royalton.”

In its ordinance, the council defines small-box stores as measuring between 3,000 and 15,000 square feet, selling individual items for $ 10 or less, and reserving less than 15 percent of storage space for food and products. costs.

Small businesses – typically dollar stores and convenience stores in malls and malls – are proliferating in the United States. According to an article published in February 2018 on the eMarketer website, the number of small-box stores grew 6.2% in 2017, more than 2.5 times the growth of big-box retailers. Overall, retail sales rose 3.8 percent that year in comparison.

Last year, the Pacific Standard website reported that dollar stores, including those that sell groceries, are more common today than Walmart stores and McDonald’s restaurants combined.

In the eyes of community leaders across the country, however, small-box stores also posed challenges and municipalities began to take action. In June, Cleveland City Council approved a moratorium on new dollar discount stores.

Cleveland City Councilor Blaine Griffin said some dollar stores operate like good neighbors. But many don’t take care of their buildings, clean their belongings, or provide adequate security for customers or employees.

In July, Brunswick City Council instituted a moratorium on small-box stores. Council members said they feared such stores would flood the market to the detriment of “quality retailers”.

Broadview Heights approved a moratorium on new small-box stores in September 2019. The idea was to give city council time to review the city code with respect to small-box stores. The moratorium expired in September 2020 without the council taking any formal action.

Master plan

In North Royalton, a Dollar Tree store recently opened near the southeast corner of York and West Sprague Roads.

A dollar tree was offered in 2019 on State and Royalwood roads. The North Royalton Planning Commission has approved a preliminary site plan for the store.

At the time, then-mayor Robert Stefanik said the Dollar Tree proposed to State and Royalwood could have fitted into the zoning district. The land is in the traditional area of ​​the city center and the main street of the city, classification 3, which allows retail as the main use.

The zoning also allows offices, personal and repair services, restaurants, banks, walk-in ATMs, veterinarians, adult and child care services, nursing homes, assisted living units, churches, government offices, and fire and police stations as primary uses.

However, Stefanik said the Dollar Tree should have integrated architecturally into the zoning district. This would likely mean a brick building, like others in the area, and no aluminum siding.

Board Chairman Paul Marnecheck told the developer of Dollar Tree never returned for final approval or submitted other plans to State and Royalwood.

Tom Jordan, the city’s director of community development, added that architectural improvements to the State-Royalwood Dollar Tree proposal required by the planning commission would have increased the cost of construction. The developer decided it wasn’t worth it.

The West Sprague Dollar Store is in an existing shopping area and did not need permission from the city to move in, Jordan said.

At a Sept. 15 meeting of the council’s building and building codes committee, Jordan said the city charter requires the city to review its master plan every four years. The city appoints citizens to an ad hoc master plan review committee and hires a consulting firm to lead the process.

The next master plan review is scheduled for 2021. Jordan said part of that review may include a discussion of zoning regulations that would apply to retail stores.

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