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montecarloss

Emailed my City Councilmen about Proposed WAL-MART

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I emailed some of my city councilmen about the proposed Wal-Mart in my area.

Here is the response - Very Interesting read.

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Dear Mr. XXXXXXX,

Thank you for your e-mail and for taking the time to provide input on the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter. I encourage you to continue to participate in the process by expressing your views at the upcoming Zoning Commission meeting on Nov. 10. It is extremely important that Wal-Mart hears the level of anxiety and opposition to this proposal.

As this is a pending zoning case, I am advised to keep my comments to a general nature so as not to risk tainting any vote I may cast in the future. I hope you understand. However, I do want to clarify a few things. First, Deerfield Township was never "in talks" with Wal-Mart; at least not as you seem to be implying. We did not recruit Wal-Mart to come to Deerfield. We did nothing to encourage them to come to Deerfield. We do not own the parcel in question. We have been meeting with Wal-Mart to make sure they understand what our code requirements are, should it be determined that the existing zoning on the property allows for the project they are proposing. We are not considering a zone change for that parcel. Zoning decisions must be based on the law, and cannot consider market issues or many of the other concerns you raised regarding employment practices or abandoned stores, etc. If the Wal-Mart Supercenter is approved for that site, it will be because it meets the requirements of our zoning code, and we are legally required to approve it...not due to a lack of leadership. I can say with 100% certainty that whatever tax revenue may be generated from this development will have absolutely nothing to do with my decision regarding the zoning case before me. The Township is in excellent financial health, and will be with or without this development. In fact, it's the County that benefits most from retail development through collection of sales taxes.

Nevertheless, I do encourage you to stay involved. If we cannot prevent it legally, we will need the strength of resident opposition to get the best development possible.

Please feel free to call me to discuss this, or any other matters.

Best regards,

XXXXXXXXXX

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I replied and this was the next reply

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Dear Mr. XXXXXXX

I'm not completely sure who owns the land at present. The original land owner is/was the Bowen family, some of whom still reside on the property and farm a portion of the land. They have probably entered into an option agreement with the developer, Vandercar Holdings. Vandercar is, as you might imagine, a "big box" developer. They most recently developed the Target, etc. development in Norwood, I believe. Representatives from both Wal-Mart and Vandercar have consistently indicated that the Fields Ertel Wal-Mart would be abandoned if this project goes through. While that store is one of their highest producers, there is not sufficient land at that location to accommodate a Supercenter footprint, hence their interest in the Bowen property.

To clarify, the zoning case, as filed, is for a PUD (planned unit development) site plan review. That assumes the existing zoning on the parcel supports the proposed use. Our legal advisors are working diligently to (hopefully) say that it does not, but don't hold your breath. As I stated in the last e-mail, a zone change request is not before us at this time, and I would not support such a request if it comes to that.

As far as the benefit of public input/pressure - it can make a significant difference. As a PUD, Zoning Commission and Trustees have some ability to "negotiate" with the developer for better buffering, landscaping, construction materials, road construction, etc. than our zoning code specifically stipulates. The louder the opposition, the stronger our leverage, the better the quality of the development. As far as it driving them away, I'm not sure Wal-Mart would ever succumb to public pressure to that extent, but who knows?

I hope I've adequately addressed your questions. If not, please call me.

XXXXXXXXXX

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So will this all being said, is it fair to blame the cities, towns, villages for the big box stores? Other than zoning, what can a city do to stop the Wal-Mart's of the world from coming into there city?

Here is a map of the proposed location, notice it is only 1.84 miles from a current Wal-Mart

DeerfieldDevelopZoning750.gif

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So will this all being said, is it fair to blame the cities, towns, villages for the big box stores? Other than zoning, what can a city do to stop the Wal-Mart's of the world from coming into there city?

I think it's difficult once zoning laws have been established to prevent big box retailers. Your rep has a point, if the development meets the zoning codes, then they are obligated to let it be built.

I think part of the problem is, we don't want big box retailers, but we sit back, almost assuming that they won't come to us, then they do, and it's too late. I think it's important for residents in towns/cities that do not yet have a wal mart, or fear big box retails to try to get zoning laws changed prior to the proposed development of these stores. Or at least if Wal Marts do come, they are built in a manner that is more acceptable than tearing down 20 acres worth of trees for a parking lot.

I think the best thing we can do is change the zoning laws to prevent unwanted developments styles.

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