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1999-07-13
Cazenovia, NY. Wal-Mart's Misnomer Is Defeated

Last April, a Wal-Mart representative told a reporter from the Cazenovia (NY) Republican that "unfortunately, supercenter is a misnomer. The name brings out a vision of being very large." How true. The name "supercenter" also brought out a huge outpouring of opposition to Wal-Mart in this community. The citizen's group, Cazenovia Responsible Growth, organized opposition to the superstore, which was slated to be 154,450 s.f. along Route 20 just east of the village of Cazenovia. Wal-Mart tried to convince locals that the enormous Wal-Mart store was the smallest prototype that the company builds that includes a grocery store. In fact, Wal-Mart supercenters run from 110,000 s.f. to 234,000 s.f., so the vision for Cazenovia was, in fact, very large. Residents complained that the supercenter would have been located in part of Cazenovia's greenbelt, as established in the town's Comprehensive Land Use Plan. They also pointed out that there are 2 Wal-Marts within a 20 minute drive of the community. The reason the Wal-Mart vision for Cazenovia seemed so large, is that the closest retail store in size is only a 25,000 s.f. grocery store. The Wal-Mart battle in Cazenovia took a critical turn on Monday, July 12th. when the Town Board voted to reject the company's petition to rezone land. The Board resolution said that Wal-Mart had provided "very limited information" about what problems the store would bring to the community. Town Board member Tom Dreisbach, who is running for town supervisor, said he was also worried about what impact the Wal-Mart would have on underground water supplies, and traffic issues. Wal-Mart said its store would use more than 5,000 gallons of water daily, and attract 380 cars per hour. Town Board members added that the retail rezoning would not fit in with the Town's plans for that stretch of Route 20, which is currently zoned residential. Wal-Mart claimed it was drawn to Cazenovia by its market research which showed that most consumers in Cazenovia shop outside of the area. Wal-Mart never made public any of its "market research".

What you can do: The victory on Cazenovia took about seven months to conclude. Last February, when rumors began circulating that Wal-Mart had set its eyes on Cazenovia, in typical fashion, Wal-Mart refused to confirm the rumors. "Everything is still pretty much in the preliminary stages," Wal-Mart's Keith Morris told the newspapers. "We're still considering several locations in the area -- not just Cazenovia. In fact, Wal-Mart officials met with people in Cazenovia to discuss their plans, so the full span of time for Wal-Mart was just over a year. The company can now scratch Cazenovia off its list -- unless the Arkansas retailer decides to force local taxpayers to follow them into court with an appeal of the Town Board decision. For now, its a "very large" defeat for Wal-Mart.










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

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