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:

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:

2008-12-20
Copley, OH. Wal-Mart Chooses Renovation Instead of A New Superstore

Ten little words have made citizens in Copley, Ohio very happy. The headline in the Beacon Journal this week read: "There will be no Wal-Mart superstore built in Copley." On May 19, 2008, Sprawl-Busters reported that representatives of LRC Development began investigating in 2006 the possibility of putting a Wal-Mart Superstore on a vacant parcel of land along Rothrock Road in Copley. City Administrator Peggy Spraggins said Copley officials learned of the development when they were invited to a meeting about two years ago with the Summit County engineer and officials in neighboring Fairlawn to talk about infrastructure improvements required for the development to proceed. There is an existing Wal-Mart store in Fairlawn. Residents in the Montrose-area of Fairlawn have been stewing since last spring over what might happen across the road in Copley. Last April Fairlawn residents met to talk about a rumored Wal-Mart superstore on vacant land on Rothrock Road. The Mayor of Fairlawn, Bill Roth, suggested to homeowners who live in the Rosemont Ridge, Enclave, Rothrock Place and Copley Place subdivisions, that they might have to take action to turn their roads into cul-de-sacs -- a sort of 'circle the wagons' approach to keep cars from cutting through their streets on the way to chinese imports. The commercially zoned land the Wal-Mart developer was eyeing is located just over the Fairlawn border in Copley Township. A superstore in Copley would cause the existing Wal-Mart discount store one mile away to go dark. That store is 110,000 s.f. -- the size of some of Wal-Mart's smaller superstore formats. The Mayor quoted the developer as saying in late April that he is planning a big box store, but would not identify which store it was. "The scary part," Mayor Roth was quoted as saying by the Akron Beacon Journal, "is we know that sooner or later (this land) is going to be developed, and since it's outside Fairlawn we have no control over what goes on." Copley Township Trustee Dale Panovich said the developer had only submitted an aerial photo to the township as of late April. "It is not a site plan," she said. "That is all Copley Township has at this point." Roth admitted that his preference is to have Wal-Mart expand its Fairlawn store at the Rosemont shopping center on West Market Street. The owner of the current Wal-Mart site has encouraged them to expand on site. "They are being very closemouthed otherwise," he told the Akron Leader. "They have the room if they want to do it," Mayor Roth said. "They acknowledge that they could expand and stay on the site. And they acknowledge there is great traffic (for commerce) on West Market Street." This week, Wal-Mart officials finally showed their hand. The company says they are going to stay in Fairlawn, and instead spend $800,000 in renovations, rather than build a mile down the road in Copley. "It's good news," said Copley Township Trustee Helen Humphrys, who said she got a call from developer Larry Levy telling her "Wal-Mart is off the table." "We didn't want it [to] come to Copley," Humphrys told the newspaper. "It would have just been a change in parking lots, not a new business coming into the area. The same store, just a different location. Fairlawn depends on income taxes; we depend on property taxes." Wal-Mart admitted that they never submitted a formal plan to Copley. But the company repeated its stock line: "We are always looking for new opportunities to serve our customers better." Copley's town attorney told the Beacon Journal, "No one from Wal-Mart has applied for anything," he said. "There have been some discussions, but just talking about something doesn't mean something is going to happen." Mayor Bill Roth could hardly restrain his pleasure. "I am pleased Wal-Mart is re-investing in the community. It will prevent another empty storefront in Summit County. Every job is important in this economy."

What you can do: On December 16th, the city of Fairlawn gave Wal-Mart a permit for an "extensive" remodel of their existing store in the Rosemont Commons mall. The building will not change in size at all. Mayor Roth pointed out the obvious: "Remodeling that site is very good news for our community. Frankly, to move a store one and a half miles to another location -- especially that site -- did not make sense to us." Yet Wal-Mart is making such proposals all over the country to receptive local officials. Even before a formal proposal was submitted to Fairlawn, the supercenter generated a lawsuit. A group called the Fairway Park Properties, LLC, owners of an apartment complex along Rothrock Road, filed a lawsuit in October, charging that the proposed location of the superstore would create a nuisance and lower property values. It asks the court to declare the maximum size of a retail building in Copley's C-3 (Commercial) zone be limited to 82,544 square feet, and that retailers be limited to 45,000 square feet. The suit also asks the court to declare that developments with retailers occupying an average of 141,706 square feet must be located in an area zoned C-4. According to the lawsuit, a 283,411-square-foot double-occupancy shopping center, consisting of 156,104- and 127,307-square-foot retailers, was proposed for the Copley site. The second anchor besides Wal-Mart was not named. Copley's lawyer says he is asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit, since no site plan was submitted, and Wal-Mart has backed out of any plans. Neighbors of the proposed Wal-Mart in Copley had circulated a petition calling for Rothrock Road, where the supercenter would be, to be widened from two to five lanes -- at the developer's expense. Neighbors have also expressed concerns over crime and traffic congestion, and the 24/7 hours of operation. Officials from Copley told residents to wait until the site plan was actually submitted before organizing opposition. Last May residents in the Montrose and Fairlawn neighborhoods started to organize. "If Wal-Mart selects the Rothrock site," one resident asked, "then who pays for the widening of Rothrock Road to accommodate the traffic volume? Will our politicians use our tax dollars to pay for the new roadway to accommodate Wal-Mart? Or will they force Wal-Mart to pay for the roadway, utilities, upgraded law enforcement, fire protection, and enhanced storm water protection for those downstream?" Rothrock cannot handle such traffic volume and neither Copley nor Summit County has the funds to improve the road to accommodate such a zoning. The land should have been zoned for offices or higher density residential to act as a buffer between the residential areas and the commercial lands along Market street. The group has been raising money to hire a land use attorney and engineering consultants when and if its necessary, to battle any commercial use along Rothrock road including Wal-Mart. Now it appears they can stop their organizing. Readers are urged to email Copley Trustee Helen Humphrys at hhumphrys@copley.oh.us with this message: "Dear Trustee Humphrys, Thank you for pointing out the obvious about the proposed Wal-Mart superstore for Copley: it was just a change of parking lots. The proposed Wal-Mart move just one mile down the road to a larger location made little sense for Copley or its neighboring towns. We are thrilled to hear that Wal-Mart will not be building yet another store in your community. This proposal added little value economically, since the only new aspect is the grocery store component -- and your area is not short of grocery stores. You also have 12 Wal-Marts within 20 miles of Copley, including a supercenter 5 miles away in Wadsworth. Instead of stretching the carrying capacity of Rothrock Road, Copley should immediately pass a six month moratorium on retail developments exceeding 60,000 s.f., so your community can plan for the future, and not be swamped with suburban sprawl. Be proactive. Don't tell residents to wait for a site plan to be filed. Your choice now is to lead growth or follow it. Wouldn't you rather make big box stores fit your plan, than have Copley fit theirs? It's not how big you grow -- but how you grow big."










 
 
"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