Sprawl-Busters Newsflash Blog - Anti-Sprawl news since 1998.
Subscribe to Sprawl-Busters Blog Follow Sprawl Busters on Twitter
Occupy Walmart & Order Al's Books Movies Newsflash! The Case Against Sprawl Home Towns Not Home Depot Victories Your Battles About Us Contact Us  

recent news

List articles
by the month:

2018
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2017
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2016
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2015
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2014
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2013
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2012
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2011
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2010
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2009
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2008
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2007
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2006
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2005
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2004
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2003
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2002
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2001
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2000
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1999
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1998
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC


Search database by text:

2007-10-13
Venice, FL. Residents Ask for Boutiques, Not Big Boxes

None of the literature about Venice, Florida mentions a Wal-Mart supercenter. The tourist pamphlets say the proverbial "Venice Florida offers something for everyone," including beautiful beaches, a quaint downtown shopping area, and the old Florida scenery along the Myakka River. The area boasts miles of white sand, sea shells and the prehistoric shark teeth which earned Venice the title of "Sharks Tooth Capital of the world." But another shark -- this one retail -- is taking a big bite out of Venice. Construction of the Intracoastal Waterway in 1963 made an island of the Venice's commercial district, and helped maintain the pattern of growth that exists today. The city made a point of preserving the original character of Venice, creating the Historic Venice District and an Architectural Review Board to ensure that new construction or modification of existing buildings conform to the northern Italian Renaissance style of the city's original architecture. The state also designated the community as a Florida Main Street City to "assure the city's heritage will be preserved." Despite all this rhetoric, the chain stores were also attracted to Venice. There are 7 Wal-Mart's within 20 miles of Venice, 5 of them are supercenters, including a supercenter right in Venice on South Tamiami Trail. But the Arkansas retailer wound up with sand in its coffee this week as local residents rose up in opposition to a planned supercenter on Laurel Road near the tony Venetian Golf & River Club. "Wal-Mart would destroy the community that can economically support quality shops," Venetian residents Ronni and Cos Mallozzis said in an email to city officials. The proposed 200,000-s.f. Wal-Mart inside the 73-acre Renaissance development east of Interstate 75 will come before Venice's planning commission this coming Tuesday. According to the Herald Tribune, people in Venice want commercial development -- they just don't want Wal-Mart. "We really need commercial development, but we need the right kind of commercial development," Venetian Golf & River Club resident John Moeckel told the newspaper. Moeckel organized a write-in campaign against Wal-Mart this week, in his capacity as chairman of the local community association. Residents are upset by the scale of the store, and the impact of traffic on the two lane roadway. "We'd like to see a reasonably sized grocery store, like a Publix, that would generate less traffic," Moeckel said. But the Herald Tribune says residents fear that Wal-Mart will alter forever the lively, walkable commercial core they envision. "They want boutiques, not big boxes," the newspaper said, "and claim city leaders promised the features when the land was annexed from Sarasota County. "The original plan resembled many attractive mixed-use town centers that you see in Florida. Is there anything more ugly than a Wal Mart?" some residents told city officials. But Venice's City Manager recites the standard disclaimer that most city officials like to invoke: "We can say you have to meet these standards, whether for road work or architecturally. We can't just say we don't want a particular business." A Wal-Mart spokeswoman still holds out hope that her company can make more inroads into Venice. "I'm not sure the imagery some of these naysayers have in their mind," she said. "Perhaps it's some of the older models of stores, but we've tried very hard to blend in to the communities we serve."

What you can do: The media reports out of Venice have tried to make this into a 'wealthy-enclave-fights-Wal-Mart" story, but it is much more than that. Venice already has easy access to big box shopping, and has to weigh its future direction carefully to prevent the sprawling of paradise. The city clearly is trying to maintain its historic character and distinct architecture. Scale is a big part of that. The predominate form of retail activity in the area is small scale -- as appropriate for a small beach community. The city cannot promote its Historic District and Main Street designation, while at the same time pile on the supercenters. The city would be better to stick with Shark's Teeth, than Superstores, as an economic strategy. The city will find itself dealing with rising crime and traffic -- both disincentives for tourists looking for the white sands paradise that the city's image reinforces. Readers are urge to contact the 9-member Venice Planning Commission, by calling Planning and Zoning Director Tom Slaughter at 941-486-2626. Tell the Planning Commission: "Stick with Shark's teeth, not Supercenters. Protect your historic district and Main Street designation. There is only one Venice, Florida, and 7 Wal-Marts nearby." Email the same message to Venice Mayor Fred Hammet at: fhammet@ci.venice.fl.us, and Vice Mayor Vicki Taylor at vtaylor@ci.venice.fl.us.










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

info@sprawl-busters.com
Strategic Planning ~ Field Operations
Voter Campaigns 
21 Grinnell St, Greenfield ~ MA 01301
(413) 772-6289