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More Research Planned on City Big Box Issue

The topic was Big Box stores… last night at a special meeting of the Sonora City Council and Sonora Planning Commission.

And the question was: should the city implement an ordinance which limits the size of new big box retail stores?

A number of residents spoke out at the meeting.

Hiltje Jamieson is with the Citizens for Responsible Growth. She asked, if there´s already a problem with traffic in the area. “How do you hope to deal with more traffic when all the proposed housing developments are completed, and if we are going to attract more large businesses?”

Jim Todd is a local developer, who thinks such an ordinance would be a bad idea. “We shouldn´t be restricting, in an arbitrary sense, the size of an establishment that´s interested in doing business with our county. In the simplest terms, I feel people vote with their wallets,” said Todd.

Resident Marilyn Fullham illustrated her experiences living in Columbia. “I come into Sonora for everything. The library, the doctor, the dentist, the barber. Anything I have to do, you have to come to Sonora in this county,” said Fullham.

“So you come to the big city, because the town you live in doesn´t provide the services you need?” queried Commissioner Tom Holloway.

“That is correct, yes,” replied Fullham.

But George Segarini from the Chamber of Commerce opposes such restrictions, saying it´s bad for business. “The free-market enterprise system should not be restricted by government. The government should not be telling business… well, they already tell business a lot of what they can and can´t do. Let´s not add another layer of that.”

At the end of the meeting, though, City Administrator Greg Applegate suggested additional study sessions by the Planning Committee before endorsing or rejecting any new Big Box Ordinances.