A note from the President...
Many people, who oppose big box stores, love to rag on them, but studies reveal they already shop there. Many will say they're large and ugly and kind of dehumanizing. They require vast seas of surface parking. The list can go on and on, but, let's take a look at what there is to like about the big-box alternative.
Well, here is one factor critics may not have considered: What if in-town big box stores encourage people to drive less? That is, after all, a major policy objective of smart growth. Plenty of people who don't want a big box store in their midst still drive 20 miles to get to one. Why not cut out those unnecessary emissions? And if you could go to a Sam's Club once a month instead of a Safeway every week, wouldn't that get people out of their cars more, too?
Truth be told, people in Queen Anne's County have already been shopping at big-box stores - they were just driving long distances to get to them.
Researchers at the California University's Institute of Transportation Studies surveyed residents both before and after on where they shopped for items commonly found in a Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's (bedding, electronics, garden supplies, etc.). They also asked people about their most recent shopping excursions, where exactly they went, how they got there and whether they were already on their way to somewhere else. The researchers then took this data on the frequency, length and type of trips people were making and calculated monthly vehicle-miles-traveled estimates before and after Big Box stores opened. And of course, there was decrease in the miles driven and demonstrated a good example of bringing shopping closer to where people live.
Reduced driving is just one policy goal along with jobs that stay in the community and the added benefits of the commercial tax base.
Make sure and attend the June 26th County Commissioner public hearing at 6 pm to join the BQA Board who support the Big Box Ordinance 12-11. Please feel free to speak in support of the Big Box Ordinance!
The Queen Anne's County Planning Commission has reviewed the proposed amendments and has made a favorable recommendation on this ordinance. (Link to Ordinance here: http://www.qac.org/Docs/Ordinances/CY2012/ORD%2012-11.pdf)
Copies of the proposed Ordinances are available online at qac.org or by contacting the office of the County Commissioners of Queen Anne's County at 410-758-4098.
Speakers will be limited to three (3) minutes each. Written testimony of any length may be submitted to The County Commissioners of Queen Anne's County, 107 N Liberty Street, Centreville, Maryland 21617 at or before the hearing.
CO No. 12-11: AN ACT CONCERNING Elimination of the Existing Gross Floor Area Limitations in the Urban Commercial (UC) and Town Center (TC) Zoning Districts in Queen Anne's County; FOR THE PURPOSE of removing the existing gross floor area limitation of 65,000 square feet on certain uses in the Urban Commercial (UC) and Town Center (TC) zoning districts in Queen Anne's County;