Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Zoned Against Big Boxes"

An anonymous commenter on this post questioned why I hadn’t posted anything about the latest accolade bestowed on Columbia by Forbes magazine. The article by Matt Woolsey entitled “America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well” ranked Columbia as No. 7.

“Seventh place Columbia, Md., a 97,506-population town between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, is packed with restaurants, parks and music venues, and it is zoned against big boxes, making it exceptionally small business friendly.”

Zoned against big boxes?

Could it be that Columbia received this recognition under false pretenses?

The list was compiled by a corporate relocation consulting group from San Francisco called I’m guessing that they never actually visited Columbia.


Anonymous said...

Ok, "zoned against" big boxes isn't exactly correct at this time.

Maybe a more exact way to describe it would be 'planned decades before big boxes and developed in such a way that, for the most part, big boxes have been kept at a distance'?

FreeMarket said...

IMO, it would suck to live in a community that did not have any big boxes. They spoil us with low prices and large selection.

Anonymous said...

The Forbes article did not take into account zoning, big box retail, or visiting the city in the quantitative analysis that created the list of cities. Here is the text directly from the article which explains how the list was created:

"To rank each town, we looked at median income; average commute; distance to highways and airports; per capita venture capital funding; per capita number of small businesses, sole-proprietorships and start-ups; the percentage of the population with bachelor's degrees or higher; the share of professional-level workers as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); the percentage of young and educated people, or those 25-34 with a bachelor's degree or higher; and the percentage of foreign-born residents with a bachelor's degree or higher. We also measured the per capita number of restaurants, bars, museums and cultural institutions."

Anonymous said...

I agree with FreeMarket. Speaking of big boxes, we have plenty already and should be getting even more, I think. What I am mad about is that our Wegmans doesn't look like it has a light at the end of its tunnel. Wish they would build it. What is going on here!?!

Anonymous said...

I think that Wegman's should take over the old Expo location. Its allready built and in a great spot!

Lotsabogeys said...

The Expo spot isn’t logical at this point. The existing structure wouldn’t work as is and would have to be demolished. Going there would mean starting all over again and the food workers union would still play their games.

For those who are interested here is a little update on the lawsuits:

In the February lawsuit the plaintiffs are trying to get a preliminary injunction to stop all activities with six projects including the Wegmans site. While anything is possible it is unlikely that will be granted. According to the county’s response there are four things the plaintiffs need to establish, the likelihood the suit would succeed, they would suffer irreparable harm without the relief, the balance of equities favors them, and the injunction is in the public interest. In addition, since it would involve third parties not in the suit the plaintiffs would have to put up a security for the costs and damages sustained by the third parties if they are found to be wrongfully restrained.

The lawsuit filed last month has two complaints by Phillip Rousseau. One is reduced use and enjoyment of his home due to the additional traffic and he did not get due process in his appeals.

WB, I can send you a copy of the latest suit if you are interested.

LegalEagle said...

The county Office of Law's response to Kendall/Gray's action attempts to control the criteria that the federal court should utilize in rendering their decision. Unfortunately for the OoL, their historical success in using this strategy to sway the county/state judiciary will fall short at the federal level.

There are very specific rules governing the federal statute (42 USC 1983) that Kendall/Gray are using. Consequently, there's a very good chance that the OoL's motion to dismiss will be denied and this case will go to trial.

At that point, hold on to your hat because the county's 20 year history of bending or breaking rules will be drawn out in excruciating detail during the trial.