EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Easthampton City Council Wednesday night approved limits on the size of retail big box stores to be built within the city.
The new regulation would restrict building size to no more than 50,000 square feet. All city council members present voted for the new restriction. One councilor recused himself from the vote because he is related to someone who actively supported the restriction.
The idea behind the new regulation is to keep business size and scale consistent with that of existing businesses. Building size in Easthampton’s Industrial Zone would not be limited. The restrictions apply only to retail space.
Presently, one of the largest buildings in Easthampton is the medical center on Route 10, which encompasses 31,000 square feet. The Stop & Shop supermarket, also on Route 10, has already been permitted for 45,000 square feet, which would not be affected by the new restriction.
“A supermarket-size store could come in. Anything larger, if you’re talking about a super Walmart, you know a Home Depot or a Lowe’s, they would be capped out,” said Daniel Hagan who was one of two Easthampton residents who petitioned the city council to impose the new regulations.
“You know, in the last 10 years Easthampton has grown into a really amazing place to live, And we want to protect that. We want to preserve the character,” Easthampton City Councilor Salem Derby told 22News.
In addition to the square footage restriction, the amendment hopes to attract smaller businesses to Easthampton by reducing the acreage requirement for business development from five acres down to three.