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1999-12-08
Racine, WI. Home Depot Races Out of Racine.

The Milwaukee Journal Times took a pulse of sentiment regarding a proposed Home Depot in Racine. According to the paper, the "results of a telephone poll (were) heavily against the development". When Home Depot came before the Racine County Board on August 10th, they didn't have the votes either. By a vote of 17 to 14, the County Board of Supervisors rejected a rezoning request for a proposed Home Depot on the corner of Highways 31 and 20. Before the hearing began, the audience was lined with residents holding up large red and white signs that read NO HOME DEPOT SHOPPING CENTER. Board Supervisors who rejected the plan said the Home Depot would not be in the best interests of the public, and would not promote the general welfare, which is, after all, the purpose of zoning. The project was even opposed by a company that sells products to Home Depot. According to the Journal Times, Jerry Ryder, President of In Sink-Erator, submitted a letter against Home Depot, noting that the building supply company buys products from his firm. Supervisor Jim Rooney complained that the Home Depot project grew and changed over time, and there seemed to be little opportunity for the public to get involved. "I guess that's where you lost me," he told Home Depot. In return, Home Depot lost Racine. Supervisor Diane Lange brought up the economics of the issue at the hearing. "They're not bringing in fresh buyers to Racine County," she said. Instead, Home Depot would seek to take buyers away from other stores, she added. Communities that have opposed the company have feared that it would create a monopoly," she noted. Supervisor Mike Miklasevich, who represents the district where the Home Depot wanted to locate, led the charge against the Depot. He said the homeowners who would have been affected worked hard to own what they have, and were willing to fight hard to keep it. "But I'll tell you," he told reporters, "the system works."

What you can do: Sprawl-busters in Racine told me that they were unsure of the vote before the meeting. After all, the Mt. Pleasant Board in Racine had voted last week to approve the project 3 to 2. Some people thought the County Board of Supervisors would just rubber stamp the Mt. Pleasant board. A number of people at the County hearing referred to the Sprawl-Bustes website and information about Home Depot contained here. "The system works," one Racine resident told me. "With all its flaws, it still works." Another Home Depot gets hammered in Wisconsin! (see newflash below for several other stories of Home Depot defeats in Wisconsin). On Wisconsin! Onward to the fight!










 
 
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