Rockville Wants Big-Box Retailers Kept Out

Article excerpt

Rockville will soon be a step closer to prohibiting new over-sized retailers in the city.

Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow and the city council's four other members are expected to authorize a text amendment at a city meeting tonight that will limit the size of retailers to no larger than 65,000 square feet.

"The five of us agree; we didn't want them," Ms. Krasnow said.

Such legislation means big-box stores like Target, Home Depot and Costco won't be allowed.

The amendment also will require retailers to comply with design guidelines for those stores and shopping centers that have 25,000 to 65,000 square feet of gross floor area. The guidelines have not yet been determined.

The mayor and city council will also extend a six-month moratorium on retail projects of more than 60,000 square feet that expires today. This will give the city more time to pass the proposed amendment, which will have to go to the city's planning commission and then on to a public hearing. The mayor and council expect to schedule final approval this summer.

The moratorium specifically affected the planned development of a 135,000-square-foot Costco Warehouse, a club where shoppers can find everything from clothing, books and CDs to refrigerators, air conditioners and saunas. Costco officials could not be reached for comment.

Ms. Krasnow said there are various issues that led to the decision to ban retailers like Costco from coming into Rockville. The main reason was aesthetics.

"They are unattractive because they are so large," Ms. Krasnow said.

Currently the biggest retailer in Rockville is the 83,000-square-foot Marlo Furniture store that opened on Rockville Pike in 1995.

"We had an unfortunate experience of having Marlo come into the city," Ms. …