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2002-09-07
Sandy, UT. Someone Get Wal-Mart A Shoe Horn.

Wal-Mart is going to need a shoe horn and some grease to fit a planned 142,000 s.f. supercenter on 10 acres of land in a highly residential area of Sandy, Utah. Just the building alone would take up 3.2 acres.Residents in Sandy have organized to stop the project, which will have a significant impact on the value and quality of residential life in the area. "When we found out in July that Wal-Mart was cominig to our neighborhood, I decided to do whatever I had to do to prevent it from happening," Tracy Goldberg told the Salt Lake Tribune. The developer, Magna Investment, asked the Sandy City Council for more room -- 4 more acres to be rezoned from residential to commercial. But Sandy officials asked Wal-Mart to stick to ten. Wal-Mart has not indicated yet if they can cram onto that space, but told the paper they try to "mesh well with surrounding neighborhoods and the community as a whole." To placate unhappy neighbors, Wal-Mart has offered the usual trinkets: a setback, berming, and making the store "more aesthetically pleasing", which is an oxymoron for a store larger than 3 football fields. City officials say "a retailer like Wal-Mart will definitely have a positive impact," although they have no hard impact study evidence to back up that sentiment. The city also seems to be pleased with the offer by Wal-Mart to add "pillars, decorative lighting and enhanced landscaping." You can put a tuxedo on Frankenstein -- but he's still a monster. Residents continue to point out that traffic, safety and noise issue, along with economic displacemenet, are concerns that need hard answers, not platitudes about pillars and upscale design. The fact is, a store this size immediately abutting a residential area is an incompatible and inharmonious land use that will harm residential values, and financial do a number on any homeowner who happens to be within sight or hearing distance of this out of scale development.

What you can do: Utah now has 8 empty Wal-Marts on the market, containing more than 729,000 s.f. feet of wasted space. As early as last February, Wal-Mart had listed an "available store" in Sandy, Utah with 129,768 s.f. of space. So clearly the company expects city officials to roll over and give them what they want. So confident is Wal-Mart, that they put their existing store on the market at least half a year ago. If Wal-Mart builds in Sandy, they will also create just one more "dark store" for the city to worry about. For local contacts, email info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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