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:

2008-02-14
Lawrence,NJ. Wal-Mart Dumps Another Town

On March 4, 2007, almost a year ago, Sprawl-Busters reported that the Planning Board in Lawrence, New Jersey was holding hearings on what the media called a "controversial application" to build a Wal-Mart superstore on Spruce St. The site Wal-Mart wanted was where two car dealerships used to be. A group called LET's (Lawrence/Ewing/Trenton) Stop Wal-Mart held an informational picket line and rally before the hearing. The Wal-Mart proposal was to build a 143,233 s.f. store on a 23.5-acre lot. The used-car dealerships would be razed to make way for the store. This was the third version submitted by Wal-Mart since 2004. The Lawrence Planning Board sent the earlier plans back for further changes. Wal-Mart needed a stream buffer variance, because part of the proposed driveway, parking lot and loading area were within the 100-foot buffer zone for a stream. The Shabakunk Creek also bordered the property. Residents have been fighting this proposal since it first came to light in 2004. "Wal-Mart was wrong for the area for three years and it is still wrong," one Lawrence resident protested at the hearing. "(The site) is an environmentally sensitive area. The people who live in Tiffany Woods (an adjacent residential development) won't be able to get out because of the traffic." The group LET's Stop Wal-Mart's petitioned the Township Council to adopt a living-wage ordinance in an effort to force Wal-Mart to raise its employees' salaries and provide them with better fringe benefits. A second group, the Lawrence Living Wage Coalition, gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition to require the Township Council to act on a proposed living-wage ordinance. But the town's lawyer sought a judicial ruling in state Superior Court on the legality of a township passing its own minimum wage. A Superior Court Judge ruled that a municipality cannot set its own minimum wage. In November of 2007, the township finally voted to approve the supercenter, despite such strong local opposition. But that was not the end of the story. This week, The Times newspaper reports that Wal-Mart announced it has decided not to build in Lawrence -- wasting more than three years of shareholder's money in a battle that led nowhere. As it has done in several dozen cases prior to this one, Wal-Mart headquarters said the Lawrence implosion was due to a change in the retailers' growth strategy. "It's still a good place to do business," a Wal-Mart spokesman said. "That hasn't changed. But the fact is, we've reprioritized. We've decided that we're going to develop a fewer number of stores in the next year and the year after." Public officials who worked hard to approve the project, were now 'reprioritized' out of the picture. It didn't take opponents long to celebrate. "We beat the Beast of Bentonville," one opponent told The Times. "I view it as a real victory after three and a half years of hard work."

What you can do: It is likely that Wal-Mart just tossed away several hundred thousand dollars in pre-development site work, including engineering and legal fees -- all for naught. The company's changing priorities have left many communities scratching their heads in disbelief. The fact is, there are 10 Wal-Mart stores within 20 miles of Lawrence, so local residents won't have to travel far to get their Chinese import fix. Most likely, Wal-Mart will be filing to change most of those 10 discount stores into supercenters, so there is no need for the company to develop a new site. After all, the Wal-Mart store in Princeton, New Jersey is less than two miles away, and if that one doesn't work out, Wal-Mart can try to expand its Hamilton store only six miles from Lawrence. It is surprising that it took Wal-Mart almost eight months after its growth strategy change to pull the plug on Lawrence. Why did the company wait so long to withdraw? The Lawrence store was approved by local officials months after the growth retrenchment, yet the retailer kept stringing out the community, while the controversy raged on. The community of Lawrence only has 32,081 people as of 2006, and that population can easily be served by the many existing Wal-Marts that saturate the area. Readers are urged to email Lawrence Mayor Mark Holmes, at Mholmes@lawrencetwp.com, with this message: "Mr. Mayor, your theme this year is 'Lawrence Will Be Great.' Building a Wal-Mart supercenter on Spruce Street was not the way to make Lawrence Great. Now that Wal-Mart has left you at the altar, this would be a good time to amend your township zoning code to place a cap of 75,000 s.f. on the size of retail buildings. If you want to protect what is unique about Lawrence, more retail sprawl is not harmonious with the 'commitment to conservation, cultural diversity and historic preservation' which are the cornerstones of your community. You rightfully boast that 'Lawrence is a place of distinction,' but another Wal-Mart supercenter brings no distinction to your township. There are currently 10 Wal-Marts within 20 miles of Lawrence. That's why the company pulled out. They have built too many stores, and over-saturated the market. To make sure you don't go through this again, consider a cap on building size, and keep Lawrence distinctive."










 
 
"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