Giant supermarket and residential/retail development that's coming to Cleveland Park.
People who use the phrase, "neighborhood serving retail stores" want others to believe that development pushes away stores that serve the community and replaces them with nothing or stores that, well, don't serve the neighborhood. The use of this phrase is meant to scare or worry neighbors that beloved and needed stores are going to be displaced by stores that only serve commuters or suburbanites.
But in fact the phrase "neighborhood serving retail stores" is being used to mean "stores that I like." More specifically, and in the context of the battle for the soul of Cleveland Park, it means stores that 1) aren't part of a chain, and 2) have been in the neighborhood for many years. "Neighborhood serving retail stores" equals the status quo.
Cosi, a restaurant, wanted to come to Cleveland Park several years ago at Connecticut Avenue near Porter Street, but it was opposed because it was a "chain," and therefore not a neighborhood serving store in the eyes of the anti-development group. On both this blog and the Cleveland Park Listserv you'll find people defending a vacuum cleaner repair shop and high end furniture store as "neighborhood serving retail stores." How often does one go to a vacuum cleaner repair shop? Certainly not nearly as often as a supermarket or a Cosi. Cosi and a supermarket would serve more neighbors than a vacuum cleaner or furniture store.
The difference between a "neighborhood serving retail store" and any other kind of store is an artificial construct. Would people value a McDonalds in their neighborhood? Some would and some wouldn't. The same goes for a Home Depot, Barnes and Noble, or a Sam's Warehouse, all large chains: Some neighbors would jump for joy at those chain stores being in walking distance; others would protest vigorously. While the phrase "neighborhood serving retail store" does have specific definitions in many cities' zoning codes, it's now been usurped by those in the anti-development movement.
So beware the code phrase "neighborhood serving retail stores." It doesn't always mean what it says.