Crestwood, KY. County Sends Wal-Mart Plan To City, Citizen Appeal Possible
On February 15th, Sprawl-Busters reported that Wal-Mart was attempting to return to the small community of Crestwood, Kentucky---where the giant retailer once had a discount store at one point---but shut it down and moved to neighboring Louisville. Now Wal-Mart wants back in--with a 158,000 s.f. superstore.
According to the Oldham Era newspaper, Wal-Mart's lawyers in Louisville sent letters to Crestwood residents about plans to build a new store on Highway 329, behind a medical center and near an elementary school.
On February 25th, Sprawl-Busters received the following report from an angry homeowner in the Madison Park development in Crestwood:
"After a long day at the Oldham County Planning & Zoning hearing, and after receiving (180) Signed petitions in strong Opposition, with only one person who spoke in favor of Walmart, the wisdom of our politically-correct commission board members voted unanimously to approve the C-4 Zoning... in effect allowing a Walmart Superstore to be built between our condo complex and the Elementary, Middle and High school combined campus, and across the street from 100+ beautiful homes whose main road will now become heavily traveled with strangers cruising through their neighborhood to access Walmart, and where the Walmart signage & Lighting will shine through the windows of their $300K homes.
It's almost unconscionable to think that your very own civic leaders would so eagerly give you such a slap in the face, and simply ignore the reality that was unfolding before their very eyes... WE DO NOT WANT A WALMART SUPERSTORE HERE... AND WE ARE YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS!
It's as if we were all living in East Germany or Russia, where the "powerful planners" have the final word and a citizen is just treated like a pile of dirt! Is this the America, the Small Town America I hoped would be for the small community homeowners more, than for the Big Box Monolithic Retailer... .NOT?
Our next step is to see what will happen at the Crestwood Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on April 9th.My fear is more of the same, as the Mayor (who has been such for 40 YEARS!), has already spoken in favor of this disastrous monstrosity.
We had a very good attorney who really did a great job in his presentation and could not have stressed more the key issues of traffic, aesthetics, buffers, lighting, signage, children's safety, hours of operations, overnight parking of motor homes, pods and storage, and the list went on and on. Of the 14 panel board, only 2 women voted NO on the proposal... they saw the pending harm to the school neighborhood and potential harm this Walmart location will have to several of the women who spoke up on behalf of their concerns for their school children.
Just makes me sick to live in a great country of ours... only to be sold out by politicians."
What you can do: There is absolutely no market need for another Wal-Mart store in this trade area. There are a total of 6 Wal-Mart stores within 10 miles of Crestwood, including supercenters in Louisville, and Middletown, both less than 5 miles away. Any new store in Crestwood would simply take jobs and sales away from existing stores--including cannibalizing sales from other Wal-Marts.
Crestwood's Mayor Dennis Diebel opened his arms to the project immediately, and told the Oldham County Era: "I think it's an added benefit to the city and residents of Crestwood because it generates economic development and growth. And potentially jobs for Crestwood and all of Oldham County." The Mayor did not reveal what economic analysis he relied upon for that unsubstantiated conclusion.
At the informational meeting, Wal-Mart's lawyers revealed that the store would be 158,000 s.f., and that the project would need a zoning change because of the size of the building. Zoning changes are not granted "as a right," and can be a major roadblock, to use the County Planner's term. They are also subject to court appeal.
All land in Oldham County has placed on it one or more specific zoning districts, or zones. Only certain types of land use activity are allowed to take place in each zone. If a property owner wishes to use his land for a use not allowed under the current zoning classification, then he must apply for a Zoning Map Amendment, commonly referred to as a zoning change. The Commission conducts a public hearing on the request, and makes a recommendation to the local legislative body for final action. According to the Oldham County Website: "Anyone who feels aggrieved or injured by the decision made by the Commission may appeal the decision directly to the Oldham County Circuit Court. Such appeal must be made within 30 days following the date of the decision. You will need an attorney to file this appeal."
This doesn't quite square with what the County Zoning Ordinance says. Under the ordinance, once the Commission takes its vote on a zoning amendment, the case goes to the local "legislative body" having authority over the land, which is the Crestwood City Council. Under section 380-050 F of the zoning Ordinance, "Judicial review of an action of the legislative body pursuant to this action must be initiated by an aggrieved party within thirty (30) days from the time such action becomes effective."
These angry neighbors clearly have the right to appeal--and should review with their lawyer the appropriate next steps.
Readers are urged to call Crestwood's Mayor Dennis Deibel at 502-241-7088 with the following message:
"Dear Mayor Deibel,
There is no market need for a Wal-Mart superstore of this size and type in Crestwood. It is a form of economic displacement that will result in loss of employment and vacant businesses in the trade area. It's not located in an area zoned for this purpose, and will not promote the general welfare of the property owners located near the site, because its scale is incompatible and inharmonious with the surrounding properties, which include many residences, a medical center, and an elementary school.
If you want to locate a Wal-Mart superstore where the building alone is bigger than 3 football fields, then use your Highway Services District---because a single-story, flat-roofed box has no place surrounded by peoples' homes and condos.
I am hoping that homeowners and condo owners near this project will appeal any approval of this plan to Oldham County Circuit Court in protest of the county's arbitrary and capricious decision."