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2006-10-18
Monsey, NY. Residents Oppose Wal-Mart “Shark.”

Several months ago, Sprawl-Busters heard from residents in Spring Valley, New York, who were organizing opposition to a proposed 215,000 s.f. Super Wal-Mart in Monsey, New York adjacent to their village. The store would be located on the site of a former drive-in theater, and would include a gas station and a parking lot for almost 1,000 cars. According to the Journal News, there is going to be a public information session on the proposed Monsey Wal-Mart on October 26th in the Spring Valley Village Hall. The Neighborhood Retail Alliance (NRA), along with county and Spring Valley officials, are hosting the Village Hall meeting. They are against the project, and will be discussing the effect the proposed store would have on traffic, safety, crime, the environment and the local economy. The NRA is a Manhattan-based organization that has been fighting for small-business for 20 years. "We feel that the theme of the town hall meeting is the high cost of low prices," said Richard Lipsky, director of the NRA. "When people are told about the benefits that low prices bring, they are not told of the damages that can ensue." The developer is National Realty & Development Corp. of Purchase, New York. The town of Monsey has asked the developer to produce an economic impact study -- but not an independent one. The developer was also asked to study air and ground pollutants, and to conduct an analysis of available water resources during droughts. These studies will all show the project in its best light, because the town unfortunately did not have the common sense to ask the developer to put up the funds -- but to let the town pick the researchers. "We're very pleased with the results of the studies we're doing," a spokesman for the developer said. Of course he would say that -- even before the studies are done. The traffic along route 59 is a major obstacle for further big development. A representative of the Jewish Business Counseling Center in Spring Valley, said the Wal-Mart would encourage more box stores to come to the area, eventually wiping out mom-and-pop stores. As for the traffic, he said, it would spread to side roads. "We are not against competition or against the American dream, but not in this area. We're trying to preserve a community. Why should a shark come and swallow it up?"

What you can do: It is remarkable how intelligent people would say to a Wal-Mart developer, "go out and produce some studies, and then let's talk." These studies make every development look like it was built in Lake Wobegon, where all the site plans are above average, and all the traffic flow good-looking. Monsey has made a critical mistake in its effort to get the facts on this project. The real estate development game in America is built on self-serving studies, with cooked results. This forces the citizen's groups and others to underwrite the cost of their own studies or peer reviews. For an earlier story, search Newsflash by "Ramapo."










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

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