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2005-01-27
Ballston, NY. Residents Organize To Fight Off Wal-Mart

All it takes is a whisper about Wal-Mart to get the troops mobilized. Here's a report from the frontlines in the small town of Ballston (pop 8,600): "I represent a citizen organization known as the Ballston Concerned Citizens for Sustainable Communities. We have been fighting for the revision to an eighteen year-old town master plan as the best way to fight off residential sprawl and big-box developers.The neighboring town (Malta) recently approved the building of a very large chip plant which has generated a tremendous amount of residential development in neighboring towns like Ballston, as well as throughout the southern portion of our county (Saratoga). Saratoga County also happens to have the best local tax rate of any county in New York State. Our approach to date is to push for the revision of the Master Plan. Our board has refused for the last six months but now concedes it should be reviewed. Now our fight is to ensure that community residents control the review, and that it not be left to a paid consultant. We are just 20 miles north of Albany. Wal-Mart will be submitting plans for a new Superstore at the February 1st Town Board meeting." Then, a second citizen wrote us the following addition: "In the last couple days a project to put in some office space outside of our village has changed to a 197,000 sq ft Wal-mart. Of course if this goes through the great Sprawl will begin and our town will be a huge strip mall. A group including myself have started "Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth" and we started collecting Signatures to urge the town Gov't to limit building sizes to 60,000 sq. ft to control big box development. I have a new webpage to collect signatures www.saveballston.com I would love to get other towns to voice their comments on the electronic petition. Our 1st meeting with the Mayor has already happened, and in a week we meet with the Town."

What you can do: Ballston already has two Wal-Marts within 20 miles of the proposed location. Clearly the Ballston proposal is what I call a "fill-in" store, meant to capture sales from a very small trade area, and cannibalize the two other Wal-Mart stores nearby. As long as overall sales rise, Wal-Mart is happy. Ballston was not Wal-Mart's first, or even second choice for a store -- but a third string choice as the company saturates this area. But local residents have now made Wal-Mart their number one target to stop. 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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