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Zoning change places limits on new dollar stores

Posted Dec. 5, 2019

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The City Council voted 8-1 to amend zoning regulations as part of an effort to increase access to healthy food options in underserved areas and decrease saturation by regulating where dollar stores may be located.

The approved amendment requires a conditional use permit to add a dollar store to a commercial district and requires that two conditions be met:

  • New stores must be separated by at least two miles from an existing dollar store.
  • Stores must offer fresh produce, meat and dairy products amounting to at least 10% of the floor area.

The ordinance refers to these retailers as “small box discount stores” and defines them as stores with a floor area less than 10,000 square feet that offer food or beverages for off-premise consumption, household products, personal grooming and heath products, and other consumer goods. The amended zoning ordinance does not affect stores that contain a prescription pharmacy, sell gasoline or diesel, primarily sell specialty food item or dedicate at least 15% of their floor area to fresh foods and vegetables.

“Since last March, we’ve held meetings, protests and talked to various media outlets regarding the proliferation of dollar-type stores in southeast and east Fort Worth,” said District 8 Councilmember Kelly Allen Gray. “We know there are at least 100 of these type of stores beginning at I-35 east over to the Arlington city limit. With their being located on almost every corner, along with payday lenders, it makes them appear to be predators in our community.”

The goal is to provide access to healthy food, including fresh produce to every Fort Worth neighborhood. These changes have the ability to balance new development of small box retailers with the city’s goal to ensure healthy food options are available for residents and potential customers.

Cities such as Tulsa, Okla., Birmingham, Ala., and Mesquite, Texas, have put zoning provisions in place to lessen the impact of these stores.

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