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updated: 12/2/2013 9:41 PM

Batavia puts moratorium on non-retail uses in commercial districts

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The Batavia City Council unanimously put a six-month moratorium on considering businesses that don't generate sales tax and want to locate in general commercial districts.

The ban means the council won't consider any annexation agreements for projects that include such businesses. It also won't take applications for ones already within its borders, unless the use was previously approved when the development was approved.

Mayor Jeff Schielke suggested the measure in October, as the council was discussing letting a physical-therapy practice open in a strip mall on Randall Road. Health-care businesses require council approval in general commercial districts in Batavia.

The biggest occupied general commercial district is along Randall from Main Street to Fabyan Parkway, with strip shopping centers anchored by stores such as Target, Hobby Lobby, Kohl's, Walmart and Sam's Club. Also zoned that way is a vacant site farther south on Randall and a vacant parcel at Fabyan and Kirk Road.

Twenty-nine percent of the city's general-fund money comes from sales taxes, according to the 2014 budget. That fund pays for everything but the water, sewer and electric utility operations.

The city will not take applications for ATM facilities, banks, business-services, dry-cleaning, laundry, entertainment, recreation, health care, pawn or personal-services businesses, as well as government uses, in land zoned for general commercial use. During the moratorium, officials will consider whether to change zoning laws to permanently prohibit such uses altogether.

One potential site that could be affected, according to minutes of a November committee meeting, would be the former Circuit City store site on the southeast corner of Randall Road and Fabyan Parkway. Schielke said L.A. Fitness health club has expressed interest in it and the Office Depot next door, which is expected to shut down due to its merger with Office Max. Schielke said in particular, the city still owes sales tax rebates on the property, related to the widening of the intersection.

In 2003, due to a similar concern, the city put a moratorium on banks being built along Randall. Eventually it decided to allow banks, but they had to be set back at least 250 feet from major roads if they had drive-through lanes.

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