Newburgh, IN. Town Rejoices On News Wal-Mart Is Not Buying Land
According to ABC Eyewitness News in the historic community of Newburgh, Indiana (pop 2013: 3,313), plans for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market created “a firestorm of controversy, drawing the ire of many residents unwelcome to the idea of Wal-Mart coming to town.”
"I've seen friends who are actually no longer friends because of this whole thing, and that is just so sad," the Newburgh Town Council President told Eyewitness News. "That's just so sad."
Well, all those Wal-Mart haters are no longer sad. On May 18th, town officials learned that Wal-Mart does not want to be part of the neighborhood. Lawyers for the retailer told the parcel owner that they were no longer interested in buying the land. To accommodate this redundant store, town officials had rezone the land from agricultural to commercial. But now the corn field can stay as is. The Council President the rezoning was “commercial specific to that grocery store,” which is called spot zoning everywhere else in America.
Towns are not supposed to rezone land to meet the needs of the applicant. The project is supposed to fit the zone, not the other way around.
Now some town residents are mulling over the idea of buying the land and turning it into a park. "Having a park here compared to a Wal-Mart, it's like night and day," one neighbor said. "If that can happen and they can buy the property, oh my gosh, that would be fantastic," the Council President told ABC News.
There are already 5 Wal-Mart stores within 10 miles of Newburgh, including a supercenter on High Pointe Drive right in Newburgh.
What you can do: Readers are urged to call President Leanna Hughes at (812) 853-3578, and leave the following message:
“Dear President Hughes, Has your Town Council been drinking too much corn liquor? How could a very small and historic town like Newburgh—which already has a Wal-Mart superstore---ever vote to rezone farmland into commercial for a Wal-Mart grocery store? This is totally incompatible with your Updated Comprehensive Plan, which, among other things, has a goal of “protecting residential areas from impact by nearby commercial uses.” Leave the land as farmland. No one needs to be protected from a cornfield.”