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2005-09-07
Davie, FL. Wal-Mart Gets Cool Reception In Florida Town

Wal-Mart stirred up a little bad weather of its own recently in Davie, Florida -- and less than two miles from their own store. Sprawl-Busters received a short SOS this week from residents in Davie that read, "WE NEED HELP! We live in a small quiet town that is home to many upscale housing developments. We don't need and can't handle a store like Wal-Mart." The giant retailer had scheduled a mandatory 'meet and greet' sessions on September 1st in Davie, but they were greeted by angry questions and grave concerns about their plan to build a 24 hour, 202,000 s.f. supercenter on University Drive. According to the Miami Herald, more than 100 residents showed up, many wearing anti Wal-Mart t-shirts. "They are trying to shove this project down our throats," said a resident from a nearby housing development. The Herald described the Wal-Mart meeting as more of a "shouting match." Davie requires developers to hold two public meetings before the town starts processing the proposal, but Wal-Mart was not pleased by the tenor of the questions. "If all you want to do is yell at us, we're not going to accomplish anything," an attorney for Wal-Mart said. She tried to get residents to suggest little changes to the store, and actually had the nerve to tell locals that the project was "a done deal." The newspaper reports suggest that the 36 acre parcel of land is subject to a legal settlement made 16 years ago, but the Wal-Mart store size does not fit the settlement. The Herald played legal counsel by stating that "the fact that the land will not require rezoning, means the Davie Town Council will have few valid legal reasons to vote against the project." Yet scale, traffic impacts, and other issues can always be raised -- even on commercially zoned land. One of the roads where the store will be placed is currently a two lane rural corridor road. The town has heard from Wal-Mart's traffic engineer, but apparently has not asked for an independent "peer review" of what this project will do to the intersections'level of service nearby. Of course, there is the fact that there is absolutely no market need for this project, since there is another Wal-Mart less than two miles away. As Sam Walton said, "We became our own competition." A Wal-Mart spokesman said, ''In South Florida, proximity isn't as much as an issue as demographics and population around the site."

What you can do: That happens to be the Wal-Mart position in South Everywhere. These new stores are not being built for local shoppers, they are being built for Wall Street stockholders. Wal-Mart needs to keep its sales level growing to keep its stock price from falling -- worse than it already has. Placing stores two miles apart helps to keep the competition out, and it increases overall market share, but it also means that sales per square foot at both stores will be less than if only one exists. So the good people of Davie are being told a useless store at an outrageous size is a "done deal", and the harm to the value of their residential property, and to the character of their neighborhood, is just not something local officials care about. When it comes to Wal-Mart, there are no 'done deals', only 'dumb deals'. For local contacts in Davie, email info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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