Score another point for the Corporations-Are-People-Too
camp. The town council voted to approve what
I shall call a Wal-blart SuperDuperCenter not far from the Common Household, just
off a two-lane road that travels through a major county park.
Several times during the contentious evening at the town
council meeting, the Wal-blart representative said, “We just want to be treated
like everyone else.”
The procedure of a
business applying to build a property was likened to someone wanting to build a
Town council can’t reject a
house-building project just because they might not like the person who plans to
My thought to Wal-blart’s plea is just this:
You are not a
You are not even a regular
Wal-blart is a big box
store, only more so.
I hate to think of myself as a person who wants to block
progress, but I guess I am.
is zoned for mixed use, and for ten years has had empty commercial buildings
sitting on it.
A long time ago, it was
used as a motor oil tank farm.
be thinking the town is fortunate to have a company willing to build there,
because it really is ugly and useless now.
Still, it is hard to think of Wal-blart as progress.
I guess I prefer the eyesore we have now to increase
in traffic that Wal-blart will inevitably bring through the park.
The town gave approval for a huge new shopping area last
year, and already several big box stores (sporting goods, home furnishings) are
in operation there, with more to come. That property, however, is on a major
six-lane road, and much further than half a mile from the park.
Two years ago, another local shopping area
was developed on previously empty land, with a big-box home improvement store,
and some smaller shops and restaurants.
Right across the street from where the Wal-blart will be, there is
already a grocery store and a Target.
not a retail analyst (I hope someone is), but that seems to me like too much
Some of these stores
will be going out of business.
Thinking about this store’s proximity to the park makes me
I fear that there will be a lot of
extra traffic on the road through the park, which is a main connector road from
a 4-lane road to the six-lane road.
I hope I’m wrong about all this.
The worst part is how the deal went down.
John Q. Public just found out about the plans
two weeks ago, hardly enough time to digest the idea.
By the time last night’s meeting occurred,
the town council had just one week left to issue its approval.
This, more than anything else, made most people
The town council is made up
of educated citizens, most of whom have been on town council for 30+ years.
They have done such a fine job in the past
that no one thought to be scrutinizing their work.
I think they did not realize that a project
like this should have plenty of notice to the public.
Informing the citizenry is a good way of
getting some buy-in from wary people, and allows strong objectors to be fully
The way it all came out makes us
feel that the whole thing is duplicitous.
The reaction of the citizens was at times embarrassing in
There really was no need
to shout down the two little old ladies who were brave enough to voice their
support of the project.
the meeting would have been a lot more polite if the town council had gone
about things the right way.
I objected, but only put up a namby-pamby fight, in the form
of attending two town council meetings. Since the property was already zoned
for mixed use, I felt there was not much legal reason to prevent the plans from
I’m trying to keep this in perspective.
At least two little old ladies will be happy
to get low-cost stuff.
And there are several other worse things that could be
installed on that property.
At least these
will Not be In My Back Yard: a casino, an opium den, a missile silo, a nuclear
waste disposal site.