Sunday, May 14, 2000

Township studies ways to control retail growth




By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Leaders of this southeastern Butler County community said Saturday they are mindful that too much retail growth can be as bad as too little.

        Though spacious amounts of property remain for prospective retail developments, within five to 10 years development could threaten established retailers.

        “There is going to become a point where retail is saturated,” assistant Union Township administrator Judy Carter told trustees during a public work session concentrating on zoning issues.

        Ms. Carter told the township's ruling board that the current practice of aggressively rezoning agriculture- designated land for retail development might eventually harm longtime retailers.

        “If you want to ensure that your retail services remain vital, then you need strategies of zoning,” she said. “Then in five to 10 years, when the retail market goes down, you don't have empty retail strip malls.”

        Union Township Trustees agreed and directed town ship zoning officials to begin soliciting retail market analyses from developers seeking to build retail outlets within the township.

        “We're looking to create general guidelines,” said Union Township President Jose Alvarez. He said the private market studies would be combined with the township's independent retail market analyses.

        Union Township, which will formally change its name to West Chester on June 28, is the county's fastest-growing community. Its population has increased from 39,000 in 1990 to more than 60,000 today.

        Since 1997 more than 7 million square feet of commercial construction and more than $600 million in new investments have been made in the township.

       



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