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Not-so-super stores

Submitted by on 1, September 15, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

On Tuesday night, the City Council will consider restrictions on certain types of “super store” retail stores. Sound familiar? It should.

At the council’s behest, the Planning Board has looked at this not once, but twice. The board recommended an added layer of review before okaying a store that’s 30,000 square feet or more, but passed on suggesting an outright ban, saying it was up to the council and the city’s Economic Development Committee to decide. The EDC, in turn, voted 5-1 to recommend against such a measure, calling it a “blunt instrument” that could keep good projects off the Island.

Even city staff is steering clear of this one, recommending only that the council hold a public hearing on the proposal the other bodies already considered, which would ban stores of 90,000 square feet or greater with 10 percent or more of their space devoted to nontaxable items like food and drugs. Which, as we’ve said before, basically leaves Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco, because Alameda Landing (hellooo, Target!) and Harbor Bay are exempt from the ban.

So will the council go for the hat trick by ignoring two public bodies and possibly their own staff to push this through. (And while we’re on it, is this what you want, Alameda?) Stay tuned. We’ll have the update on Wednesday. Until then, the staff report laying out the details on this is here.

And while we’re talking retail, looks like a group that includes the folks who own Encinal Hardware have appealed the Planning Board’s approval of an Orchard Supply Hardware in the old Safeway building at the shopping center. They’re arguing that proper review and entitlement channels weren’t followed and that the store would compete with other, local stores on the Island.

City staff, who recommend the council uphold the Planning Board’s okay of the project, are arguing otherwise. The council will take this one up as well on Tuesday night. All the info is here.

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