Rock Hill, SC. A Swarm of 4 Wal-Mart Proposals
The media in Rock Hill, South Carolina describes neighbors as "cautiously optimistic" about a proposed Wal-Mart superstore in their backyards. But there was no optimism when abutters showed up to speak against plans for a 180,000 s.f. Wal-Mart superstore and gas station, which has an apartment complex on one side, and a single family housing neighborhood on the other side.
In reality, the neighbors told local officials that there is no buffer that can hide a store of that size from nearby residences, and the homeowners expressed concern over potential loss in the value of their properties.
The only "optimism" that the Herald Online found was in an interview with the man who owns the neaerby apartment building, who is hoping his tenants won't mind looking out on a huge retail mall day and night. If you ask the homeowners in the Southland Park subdivision, or the Roddy Park subdivision, or the people closest to the site, the Countdry Club Estates---they will say that their quality of life is worth more than a cheap pair of Chinese underwear.
It turns out that this proposed superstore on Saluda Street is just one of 4 new projects that Wal-Mart is pushing in this community. This superstore is 6 miles from another superstore in Rock Hill, and 9 miles from a 3rd superstore in the city. Wal-Mart is also pushing a 42,000 s.f. Neighborhood Market on 14 acres in Celanese Road with a gas station. This parcel is not zoned correctly, and is not even part of incorporated Rock Hill--so it will have to be annexed.
The project will go to the City's Planning Commission on January 7th, when many of the residents of nearby Swan Meadows will be there to oppose it. 200 area residents have signed a petition against the smaller store.
According to The Herald Online, Wal-Mart has two more Neighborhood Markets in the planning stages for Rock Hill, so this community is being carpet bombed with new Wal-Mart projects---none of which will result in new jobs.
What you can do: On November 6, Sprawl-Busters wrote about the superstore plan in Rock Hill. Readers are urged to email Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols, at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following message:
"Dear Mayor Echols,
Rock Hill already has two Wal-Mart superstores---so anyone in your city who is addicted to cheap Chinese imports doesn't have far to go. There is no need for another Wal-Mart store.
But 4 new Wal-Mart projects is absurd. Obviously Wal-Mart sees Rock Hill as an easy mark, the path of least resistance. But if you listen to your neighbors, they did not move to Rock Hill to see it turn into Retail Hill. More retail at this pace is just saturation, and creates no net new jobs or economic activity.
There is no foolproof way to "buffer" a 41,000 s.f. Neighborhood Market from neighbors. Just the building alone is almost an acre of concrete footprint. The lights, noise and traffic cannot be hidden. Not by berms, fences, walls or swales. It will drag down property values, and leave homeowners financially trapped in their living rooms.
This is not a job-producer. Sit down privately with Bi-Lo, or Food Lion, or any of your local markets and ask them what this project will do to their sales and jobs.
Please remind the City Council that rezoning is not a right. One of the functions of zoning is to prevent incompatible land uses.
I urge you to tell Wal-Mart to find another neighborhood to sprawl in, and to look for land that is already properly zoned."