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2006-02-20
Ellsworth, ME. Wal-Mart Returns For Second Try

Residents of Ellsworth, Maine were greeted with unpleasant news in today's Ellsworth Weekly: Wal-Mart is going to try to again to build a superstore on Route 3. The retailer tried to push its way into town two years ago, when a Massachusetts-based developer, S.R. Weiner, applied to put a store at the intersection of Route 3 and Myrick Street. Weiner, who has tangled with town governments all over New England, has apparently opened up discussions with Ellsworth City Manager Stephen Gunty. Weiner wants to put a Wal-Mart near the existing Home Depot. "They've been consistently keeping their options open," Gunty told the newspaper. "We don't have many specifics. Everything is very preliminary at this point." Wal-Mart reportedly withdrew its plans in 2004 because it refused to pay a roadway improvement impact fee required by the Maine Department of Transportation. To help Wal-Mart out, city officials are considering a new ordinance that would allow such fees to be levied on all the businesses benefiting from the development, not just the first developer to initiate a project. The Wal-Mart in Ellsworth would have required significant road improvements not necessary without the project. The impact fee is therefore levied to prevent taxpayers from paying for such improvements that largely benefit the developer. Ironically, Ellsworth already has a 94,000 s.f. Wal-Mart, which will close if a supercenter opens in the city.

What you can do: Residents in Ellsworth report that a group has been formed called "Wise Planning for Ellsworth" (WPE) which will take the lead in opposing Weiner's attempts to put a supercenter in Ellsworth. For other stories on the big box invasion in Maine, search by the state's name. For local contacts in Ellsworth, contact info@sprawl-busters.com. For more on the controversial past of developer S.R. Weiner in Sturbridge and Billerica, Massachusetts, search by "Weiner."










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

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