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2002-09-04
Lakewood, MN. Fear and Disgust for Wal-Mart.

According to the Star Tribune newspaper in Duluth, Minnesota, all it took was whispers of a Wal-Mart real estate "scout" poking around Lake Superior's North Shore for residents to get upset. "In a testament to how much fear and disgust even the mention of Wal-Mart can generate in a place that prizes its uniqueness," the Star Tribune wrote this week, "dozens of Duluth and North Shore residents are organizing for battle with Wal-Mart or any other big-box retailer that tries to establish a beachhead there." This week, residents in Lakewood, MN will have a public hearing to place a cap on the size of retail buildings. Here's a report submitted by a local sprawl-buster: "WalMart wants to build a superstore in our township which is 36 square miles. A construction company has purchased property that Wal-Mart apparently is going to build on.This property is 30 acres between the scenic north shore drive which runs right next to Lake Superior and the Expressway. There is really nothing on this expressway for 20 miles. The scenic highway is basically undeveloped except for a couple of small towns. Our township has nothing except one tiny convenience store. However, Duluth is right adjacent to our township. We have
2000 residents. There are many people against this in Duluth including
the Mayor who wants this superstore in Duluth in an industrial area. There is no sewer out to the supposed Wal-Mart property in my township. Our zoning does NOT allow shopping centers, although we allow grocery stores, gas stations, etc in the zone where they have bought property. The zoning board has agreed to have a hearing to limit commercial retail sales buildings to 5000 square feet. It's a good time to do this, because we only have one commercial zone of 5 acres that has a cabinet shop on it. That's it. So we would not be affecting any land that is presently zoned commercial so no one can squawk that we are taking away their rights. We presently have no size limitations or basically any limitations. It all depends if the town board on Sept 4 will say the zoning board can have a hearing." Meanwhile, Duluth officials are fighting the Wal-Mart plan for Lakewood also. They see the project drawing off sales from Duluth. "That's a development we would fight till the death," the city's director of planning told the newspaper. "It's completely inappropriate for the shore, and it would lead to all kinds of other inappropriate developmnt."

What you can do: The Star Tribune reported that residents in Brainerd also have qualms about Wal-Mart. "People come here for lakes and woods," said a Brainerd head of the Coalition for Responsible Development. "If we make this area too ugly, they'll go elsewhere. I don't think people drive up here from the metro area to shop at Super Wal-Mart or Target. They see that all the time at home."










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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