Polk County Appearnce Commission drafts ‘big box’ ordinance

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Polk County Appearance Commission recently drafted an ordinance for the county to consider limits on high impact businesses.

Commissioners met last week and discussed the request, but the consensus of the board was to wait to address big box restrictions until after the county finishes its comprehensive plan.

Polk commissioner Ren´e McDermott, who was in favor of sending the draft to the county planning board, said the last time the planning board addressed big box restrictions that particular planning board didn&squo;t even consider it.

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The planning board last year concluded that unless the entire county was zoned, the planning board wouldn&squo;t address recommending a big box ordinance for just zoned areas.

Other commissioners said they want to wait on the comprehensive plan and they want to be specific in what the ordinance will say prior to sending the request to the planning board.

The appearance commission&squo;s draft ordinance defines high impact businesses in a highway commercial or multiple use district as those with 6,000 square feet or more if it is a single business in one or more buildings or 12,000 square feet or more if it&squo;s a multi-unit retail sales facility or shopping center.

If located in any other district than highway commercial or multiple use, high impact businesses are defined as being those with 3,000 square feet or more if one business is conducted in one or more buildings and 3,000 square feet or more if a shopping center.

Commissioners said they think the concept has merit and may take up the issue once they have a land use plan in place, which a committee is currently working on drafting.