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Maumee suspends new discount store plans for two years

Posted By: Toledo Blade on November 28, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Maumee City Council has instituted a two-year moratorium on discount stores in the city, halting the approval of any permits, plans, and applications for new construction.

Council approved a resolution for the moratorium unanimously and without discussion during a special meeting Tuesday. There were no members of the public present.

Citing public health, safety, and welfare concerns, the resolution to pass the temporary moratorium says the action is to allow the city administration and council to review state and municipal building codes and zoning laws before taking a permanent action.

“There has been a proliferation of discount stores, not just in our community but throughout the entire region and without control what happens is they become empty buildings,” Maumee Mayor Richard Carr, who presided over the meeting and introduced the measure, said in an interview after the 10-minute meeting was adjourned. “And once you have empty buildings, that creates blight, and we’re trying to do everything we can in Maumee to prevent the blight.

“So what we want to do is regulate how many of them there can be, how close they can be to one another so we do not end up in the future with a lot of empty box stores,” he explained. “We want to review what other communities have done, what the courts have ruled, and make sure that we’re doing it right to protect what our interest is.”

The moratorium can be extended for no more than six months for the administration to complete its study and recommend what action should be taken if any, according to the resolution.

“Studies in other cities have shown that the saturation of cities or villages with discount stores and liquidation stores have an ultimately damaging effect on economic well being of a community and reduced property values and reduced access to healthy food options,” the resolution says.

Jim MacDonald, council president, said the measure is part of the city’s effort “to make a definitive plan as to what we want to do with our development areas, especially our business district.”

“We want to be very intentional with that and just make sure that we have a good mix of businesses that come in, and we don’t want to get overloaded with one particular type of business,” Mr. MacDonald, who was elected to replace Mr. Carr as mayor this month, said of the moratorium. “… All it does is give the city a little bit of time so we can … look at how we want the city to look in our business district.”

Because the meeting was a special meeting and did not involve passing any new legislation or changing any law, no public comments needed to be taken, according to the city administration.

The moratorium does not include stores that primarily sell gasoline or diesel fuel or have development agreements with the city, according to the resolution.

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