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2005-01-15
Independence, MI. Residents and Officials Oppose Wal-Mart

Battlelines against Wal-Mart are forming almost every time they lay down a plan. A developer by the name of Orco Investments wants to build an enormous mixed use/big box project in Independence, Michigan on 72 acres of land near Interstate 75. The planned development would include a Wal-Mart, a Lowe's, a 100-room hotel, single-family homes and condominiums, banks and fast-food restaurants. But township supervisor David Wagner has his doubts. "We don't want this," Wagner said. "We have developed that area with abundant small businesses, and this would probably kill them." Fortunately, the land is not commercially zoned, and Wagner told the Daily Oakland Press that Orco will face a fight with residents and township officials over such a radical change in zoning that would alter the small town's personality. "I urge community members to unite and defend our small-town flavor of before the superstore sprawl changes the landscape irrevocably," said Joe Glaser, who teaches social studies at the local high school. "I will move forward with a blueprint that works successfully. If I have to have meetings at my house, I will," said Glaser. Independence Township Clerk Shelagh VanderVeen, who lives near the proposed project, told the newspaper, "I know from reading articles in The Wall Street Journal, especially about Wal-Mart, that they have predatory business practices. It may be a modern business rule for success, but it doesn't do anything for people who have been loyal to the community for decades," she said. VanderVeen said her fear is that Wal-Mart would use its abundant resources to force itself in, through court. Glaser added, "Americans are the greatest consumers in the world, and so many now are getting squeezed by the economy and want the best deal - you can't blame people for trying to take care of their household budgets. But it is a short-sighted opinion. There is a larger price to pay when local businesses are no longer able to compete."

What you can do: For local contacts in Independence, Michigan, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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