Sprawl-Busters NewsFlash reports that citizens of Belfast, Maine will vote on whether to limit the size of new retail stores on June 12. The referendum is non-binding, but will provide a guide for the City Council. A temporary moratorium on retail development over 50,000 square feet (slightly larger than a football field) has been in place since last summer. The moratorium was enacted in response to Wal-Mart’s effort to build a supercenter on the edge of town.
The ballot question will read: "I favor: 1. Limiting the size of any new retail business to no more than 75,000 s.f. (Shop ‘n Save and Ames combined are about 87,000 s.f.) 2) Limiting the size of any new retail business to no more than 45,000 s.f. (Belfast’s Shop ‘n Save is about 44,000 s.f.) 3. Limiting the size of any new retail business to no more than 25,000 s.f. (Belfast’s Agway is about 20,000 s.f.). 4. Not limiting the square footage of any new retail business."
– Dozens of communities nationwide have enacted limits on the size of new retail stores.
– Wal-Mart is making a major push to open supercenters up and down the Maine coast. See "Maine Citizens Fight Wal-Mart Expansion" in the November issue of this Bulletin for background and Sprawl-Busters NewsFlash for more recent updates.