Regulatory Strategies for Big Boxes

Zoning Practice — December 2005

By Jennifer Evans-Cowley, FAICP


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Big box retail has opened for business in communities of nearly every size, economy, and density in America. As a result, planners have long sought (often in vain) to strike the right balance between supporting big business and retaining the local identity that, sadly, disappears when big boxes move to town. Though the determinates for approving large-scale retail have broadened beyond land-use viability, a few communities base their decisions, in part, on economic impact.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses zoning strategies for big box retail, including development moratoria, size limitations, formula business ordinances, design standards, impact studies, and closed store policies.


Page Count
Date Published
Dec. 1, 2005
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Jennifer Evans-Cowley, FAICP
Jennifer Evans-Cowley, PhD, AICP is Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Public Administration and Emergency Management & Disaster Science the University of North Texas.