EUGENE, OR-A motion before the city council to temporarily ban large format retailers fell by the wayside this week when Mayor Jim Torrey broke a 4-4 vote with a ‘nay’ vote. The motion would have put a moratorium on the approval of stores over 50,000 sf while the council studied whether to make the ban permanent.Torrey explained his vote by saying he wanted more information on the costs and benefits of the ban before he would vote in favor of even a temporary ban, according to published reports. After the vote, a motion was passed that directs the Mayor’s Economic Development Committee to identify how stores more than 50,000 sf affect the city’s land use decisions, transportation network and other, smaller businesses. The ban is not intended to keep out the likes of Wal-Mart, whose impending presence has sparked similar legislation in other cities around the nation. Wal-Mart already has a store in the city on West 11th Avenue. However, it might have stopped a planned expansion of the store to some 217,000 sf in order to accommodate a grocery component.Council members Betty Taylor, David Kelly, Bonnie Bettman and Scott Meisner voted to direct staff to develop an ordinance for the temporary ban. Council members Gary Pape, Jennifer Solomon, George Poling and Nancy Nathanson voted against it. There reportedly was some concern among the dissenting members and city planning staff that the 50,000-sf threshold was too low and could prevent retailers the city really wants, such as a grocery store.

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