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2004-10-16
Garfield, MI. Home Depot Expansion Plans Thwarted by One Merchant

Home Depot's plans to expand their existing store in Garfield, Michigan hit the wall this week, when one neighboring business objected. Home Depot wanted to add a rental center to its store, but a company called Retool monkey-wrenched the deal. "I didn't think we could go up against Home Depot," Bob Rought, owner of Retool, told the Record-Eagle newspaper, "and I didn't know we did." Home Depot and Retool are located in the same shopping center, which, according to Garfield Township Zoning, is a planned unit development. Under local zoning rules, changes to a PUD that were not part of the original site plan, must obtain the unanimous approval of all property owners in the development. Home Depot locked up all the needed approvals for the 2,500-s.f. expansion three years ago, but they never went ahead with the project. In the meantime, their permit expired, and the Retool company in the same mall took on a new owner. Rought told his landlord that he was against Home Depot's expansion -- but didn't know the landlord was going to fight it. Retool sells used and new tools and Rought said Home Depot's going into the rental business would take away business from him. "I have a business and I don't need them renting tools," Rought said. Garfield township officials are not happy that one merchant has stopped the mighty Orange Giant, but the town will have to change its zoning rules before the issue can come back up for review.

What you can do: Some people spend a great deal of time and money to stop Home Depot, and in this case, one retailer stopped their expansion -- and didn't even know about it. Fortunately for him, his landlord had a better sense about how the world of zoning works than he did. The real hero of this story is the landlord, not Retool. Looks like Home Depot will have to retool its proposal, and go back again before local officials -- who no doubt will side with Home Depot, rather than commit the sin of supporting their small business community.










 
 
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