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:

2008-05-07
Lake Wylie, SC. Residents Want More Than Wal-Mart’s ‘Old Blue Box.’

Neighbors in Lake Wylie, South Carolina are going to learn the hard way that to negotiate with Wal-Mart, you need leverage. According to the Rock Hill Herald newpaper residents in Lake Wylie have gathered a petition to urge Wal-Mart to make its proposed supercenter more attractive than the usual big box fare. The newspaper said the residents decided not to fight Wal-Mart -- but to approach the giant chain store "the old-fashioned way -- by asking nicely." More than 250 residents in the Landing neighborhood of Lake Wylie have signed a petition asking Wal-Mart to allow 'resident input' before building their store. "A lot of times with things like this, people just end up complaining," said Jacqui Marquez, a Landing resident. "What we wanted to do is to galvanize people in a positive direction." The group began with the assumption that they could not prevent Wal-Mart from opening a store in the Mill Creek Commons development. Having made that major concession, there's little left for residents to do except try to put pearls on the pig. "We just hope it looks nice," Marquez told the newspaper. "We want it to have a certain look and keep the feel of Lake Wylie as we know it." According to the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, the community is a "vibrant and thriving" place "where geography, people and economic vitality have fashioned a distinctive Southern lifestyle." Lake Wylie is described as having a "comfortable, small town atmosphere" with "convenient proximity" to regional commercial centers. In short, "the perfect setting to live and do business." Into this perfect setting comes a Wal-Mart supercenter. The absurdity of this situation is that Wal-Mart recently opened a new supercenter across the lake in Tega Cay, South Carolina, roughly 5 miles away from Lake Wylie, and there is another superstore 7 miles away in Charlotte, North Carolina. In fact, there are 12 Wal-Mart stores currently within 12 miles of Lake Wylie, ten of which are superstores. So this 'distinctive Southern lifestyle' is being crowded out by suburban sprawl. In Tega Cay, Wal-Mart used its "village superstore" format, which takes the façade of the building and makes it look like a series of small retail shops, using different building materials, roof lines, and elevations. But just behind the "skin" of the store, is the big box, with all its adverse impacts on the environment. According to the Herald, the store in Tega Cay has a "village ambiance that looks anything but big box." One of the York County Councilman, Tom Smith, who represents Lake Wylie, has passed the citizen's petition on to Wal-Mart. "They're certainly not coming in with the old blue box," the Councilman told the newspaper. This Wal-Mart is being placed near another big box, a Lowe's, which has not yet been built either. The Lowe's has already filed its site plans, the Wal-Mart has not. But the Lowe's plan calls for a standard big box footprint. The Mill Creek Commons is going to end up looking like the Big Box Commons, and the residents can expect a painfully common look for the whole project. That is -- unless the residents change their tactics from 'hope' to 'demand.'

What you can do: A group called the Citizens for the Preservation of Lake Wylie has formed, and like the other neighbor's group, they too are addressing what the newspaper called "cosmetic concerns." "We are pretty close to the darn thing," a group organizer told the Herald. "I think the way it looks, the aesthetics of the Wal-Mart, are pretty important to all of us." These citizens groups are beginning at the end of the process. Rather than dealing with cosmetics first, the groups should start with the size of the project itself, and go before York County officials asking for a smaller footprint for the Wal-Mart. Lake Wylie is a small community, with a 2000 census population of only 3,000 people. The character of their community is based on attracting people to live in a unique setting. They can have convenience shopping without all the standard sprawl formats. These groups should be talking with County planning officials about the traffic, the noise, the visual impacts, that such a large project will have on their property values. It's unlikely that most residents knew a big box project was going to be their neighbor, or they would not have chosen to live in Lake Wylie. Changing the skin of the store's appearance will not change the traffic impacts, will not change the crime impacts, will not change the hours of operation, the lighting, and the noise. The community will get no concessions willingly from Wal-Mart. The company will gladly alter the façade to imitate the Tega Cay store, and the color scheme may also be open to discussion. But residents should push for a smaller footprint, and hours of operation that end at 11 pm, and open at 7 am, with no deliveries allowed during those evening hours. These are basic protections small communities can win from developers -- but not by asking "the old-fashioned way." Readers are urged to email York County Councilman Tom Smith, whose district includes Lake Wylie, at Tom.Smith@yorkcountygov.com, with the following message: "Dear Councilman Smith, I hope you will work hard to protect the distinctive southern lifestyle in Lake Wylie by limiting the excesses of suburban big box sprawl on your district. The Mill Creek Commons is turning into an anonymous Big Box eyesore. The residents deserve more than a faux façade that looks like a "village." You are going to encounter serious traffic issues there, and noise, light, and hours of operation issues. The neighbors of the Landing were there first, and deserve your protection. Don't let Wal-Mart stay open all night. Fight for real concessions as part of a developer's agreement. Other communities have made big boxes fit their character, rather than the reverse. There is no such thing as a 'village superstore,' and you won't find small town quality of life on any shelf at Wal-Mart. But once they take it from you -- you can't sell it back to you at any price. You've got 12 Wal-Mart's within 18 miles of Lake Wylie. This over-development is just saturating your area, and bringing no new jobs or revenues to your district. Give citizens more than just cosmetic relief."










 
 
"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