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1999-08-12
Racine, WI. In-Sink-Erator Correction

In our earlier "newsflash" about Home Depot's defeat in Racine, we reported that according to a local newspaper account, the In-Sink-Erator company spoke against Home Depot. According to sprawl-busters in Racine, this newspaper account, which was found in the Racine Journal Times (not the Milwaukee Journal Times) was inaccurate. If you are still with me, here is what the article should have reported: Jerry Ryder, the President of In-Sink-Erator, wrote a strong letter urging Racine residents to SUPPORT rezoning on behalf of Home Depot, which the letter describes as In-Sink-Erator's "largest customer". So let the record show that In-Sink-Erator supported its largest customer, Home Depot. In fact, the letter from Mr. Ryder said he would be "personally embarrassed" if the city or county of Racine, where his company is headquartered, "did not welcome" his largest customer. The County voted 17-14 (see below) not to welcome in In-Sink-Erator's largest customer. Presumably there is some embarrassment over this vote, but was In-Sink-Erator embarrassed by what might have happened to other building supply stores in Racine if Home Depot had been allowed to occupy rezoned land? Should zoning decisions be made on a criteria called "vendor embarrassment"? It's probably nowhere to be found in the Racine zoning code.

What you can do: When local merchants testify against Home Depot, they are sometimes greeted with the charge of having a "special interest". When Home Depot vendors send out letters urging a positive vote, what should we call that? Anyway, the Racine Journal Times article was incorrect, and we have now made the In-Sink-Erator position as clear as drain water. In the context of zoning, the impact of a store on competitors is only relevent in so much as it reaches into the general welfare of a community, i.e. leads to loss of property values, loss of property tax or sales tax, etc. Impact on competitors is not the narrow issue in these cases, but more properly the impact on the "general welfare" of the public if a number of existing stores close, throw people out of work, stop paying taxes, etc. This is how economic impacts reaches into the zoning issue of "general welfare".










 
 
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