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2007-08-13
Cave Creek, AZ. Town To Poll Residents On Wal-Mart

Unless the people in Cave Creek, Arizona have been living in a cave, they know the downside of locating a Wal-Mart superstore in their town. The Town of Cave Creek is located in northern Maricopa County and is bounded by Maricopa County to the north, Phoenix to the west and south, Carefree to the east and Scottsdale to the southeast. The Town encompasses approximately 31 square miles. The town's population in 2000 was less than 3,800 people. According to today's Arizona Republic, local officials in Cave Creek are expecting some stones to fly over a proposed Wal-Mart superstore located -- ironically -- on Carefree Highway. That 20 acre site is not likely to turn into a carefree romp for Wal-Mart. The construction of a supercenter on this site will require an amendment to the town's general plan, plus a rezoning from residential to commercial. Based on those two facts alone, this project can be killed. Whenever land is not properly zoned, and requires the master plan to be ignored -- it's a great opportunity for a citizen's group to lob rocks during the hearing process. To cozy up to the neighbors, Wal-Mart is hosting one of its routine "neighborhood meetings" this Thursday at a local church. These dog and pony shows end up being all dog, and no pony. Local residents have flooded such events with opponents, turning the PR event into an anti-Wal-Mart moment. But Wal-Mart may have some selling to do with local officials as well. The town's manager told the Arizona Republic that local officials have "mixed feelings" about the project. "The positive side is, it would generate good sales tax," the town manager told the newspaper. "But the negative side (is) the impact to the area." He's not even right about the sales tax -- because local merchants will fold. Town officials have already allowed a Lowe's store to build on the same intersection of Carefree Highway, which motorists will soon want to rename, Headache Highway. Wal-Mart has already filed for a general plan amendment, but the town's Planning Commission has decided first to poll local residents on the plan change, which will not happen until December. The poll is non-binding, but residents can expect to get full-color brochures in the mail and several telephone calls from an "astro-roots" group Wal-Mart will set up to promote the project. The executive director of the Cave Creek/Carefree Chamber of Commerce, said developers need a plan to fit the "profile and ecosystem" of the town. "The great concern is in Cave Creek is that businesses are unique. They're self-growing," the Chamber director told the newspaper. "We don't look to make business bigger, but make it stronger. The Wal-Marts of the world tend to be a little 'franchisee'. I just wonder if it can fit into the Cave Creek culture." The president of the Chamber of Commerce echoed the same sentiments. He said he was "pro-business, but not very pro-box." "I think our communities are based on the small town, small business," he said. "The challenge for small business is to be able to ride out the storm."

What you can do: Cave Creek has 8 Wal-Marts within 20 miles, including 5 supercenters in nearby Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale, Arizona. For a very small community, the idea of more Wal-Marts is absurd. This is Arizona, not New Jersey. Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia needs to hear from you. Leave the Mayor a message at (480) 488-6612, or send him an email at vfrancia@turfparadise.net. Tell the Mayor, "Your little town does not need a big Wal-Mart. Your big box stores like Lowe's will only create a monopoly as the smaller merchants are driven out. You already have supercenters in Phoenix, Glendale and Scottsdale. These huge facilities are not what makes Cave Creek special. You don't have to change your general plan, or rezone land for any big retailer. There is only one Cave Creek on earth. Keep what's special about your town -- and lose the Wal-Mart."










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

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