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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-A ban on big box retailers in north Scottsdale will have little impact on new development in the area, other than to further the perception in the real estate community that the exclusive suburb is difficult to build in, say real estate experts.

Earlier this week, the Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved a big box ordinance that will effectively ban large stores in the northern part of the city. The council has been pushing for the ordinance since late last year when a Home Depot was set to move into north Scottsdale.

With the ban, Scottsdale follows Glendale on having laws that determine just where big box retailers can be placed. Tucson also has a similar ordinance.

The ordinance prohibits the development of big boxes on environmentally sensitive land. Nearly all acreage north of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, or at least 134 square miles of it, has been designated sensitive by the city.

With the ordinance, big box developers must get a use permit if they plan to open a store that is located a quarter of a mile or closer to a residential area. To get a use plan, the ordinance also requires the project to have low lighting to preserve the dark sky, a noise plan for trucks and design features that enhance the building.

But some in the real estate community anticipate that the new ordinance will have little impact. The area where the city plans to ban the big box retailers isn’t demographically appealing to them and few are interested in building there, says Judy Butterworth, a retail specialist with CB Richard Ellis. “When all is said and done who cares,” she says. “Retailers have not been clamoring to be up there.”

North of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard is home to some of the most posh homes in the Valley. Several acre lots and 7,000-sf homes are not uncommon. The density of population is low and it dips even lower in hot months because many homes are second and third residences.

The ban will help those big box retailers who have already built in the area and those that are being developed in Phoenix near the Scottsdale border. Target is building a store at the corner of Scottsdale Road and Ashler Hills Drive, about six miles north of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, and it will have little or no competition.

Phoenix-based Westcor’s 600,000-sf power center, which includes several big boxes, is positioned on the southwest corner of Phoenix’s Mayo Boulevard and Loop 101, but it’s some three miles west of the Scottsdale border.

The ordinance further solidifies the image of Scottsdale as being one of the most difficult to develop in, Butterworth says. “The city council is not dealing with reality,” she says. “They are so anti-everything. Sooner or later people are going to throw up their hands and decide not to do business with Scottsdale. You just get to the point where it not worth it.

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