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2005-09-16
Rotterdam, NY. Wal-Mart Gets Zoned Out

This morning Wal-Mart in Rotterdam, New York is a store without a place to land. The Rotterdam Town Board last night voted 3-2 to create a "corporate commerce" zone in the "Triangle 13" area, that excludes big box retail, but allows insurance companies, restaurants and offices instead. Rather than allow a "general business" zone, which would have paved the way for Wal-Mart, the city has chosen another path for the future. Here's a report to Sprawl-Busters from Tom Vincent, Chair of Save Rotterdam: "We have been busy here in Rotterdam. After I contacted you last April, and you put Linda Foote in touch with me, we formed Save Rotterdam.org. It started out with 6 people in my dining room and blossomed into a group with a membership list of 96 people and an email list of 56 people. We organized, we made phone calls, we picketed, we leafleted, and we gathered petitions. Two days before the Town Board held public comment on a rezoning change, we launched an unprecedented (for this town) phone call campaign in which we called 5,800 households in 12 selected voting districts. At the same time, we blanketed this area with approximately 1,000 flyers urging turnout. About 250 people were at the meeting, with approximately 150 openly supporting us. We outnumbered those openly supporting Wal-Mart (mostly their employees) by a ration of about 4:1. The Town Board voted 3-2 to change the zoning to a new designation that effectively shuts out Wal-Mart, or any other big box store."

What you can do: Save Rotterdam needs to stay at the ready, because Wal-Mart or the property owners may try to get by litigation what they couldn't get by regulation. In addition, Rotterdam still has land that is zoned "general commercial," but a citizens' group once again has demonstrated the power of a slingshot coalition in bringing down Goliath. For more background on Rotterdam's defeat of Wal-Mart, go to their website: http://www.saverotterdam.org/index.html










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

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