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1999-12-22
Red Hook, NY. Typical Suburban Hannafords

The town hall in Red Hook was filled Monday night to watch only (no public comments were allowed) as nearly half a dozen "suits" from Hannaford's presented their plans for a 47,770 s.f. superstore outside of the traditional village commercial center. The design and the footprint of this largest proposal for tiny Red Hook (pop. 10,000) prompted the town's planning consultant to label it a "typical suburban model". Despite the fact that 92% of the town's residents have said they want to "preserve the rural town character" of Red Hook, and 82% surveyed said the Village center should remain the primary commercial area of town, the Hannaford's store will only bring more cars and truck traffic through the small village streets of Red Hook. In fact, Hannaford's will require the widening of Route 9, the installation of another traffic light, and the creation of its own septic and water well, because no water or sewer service exists to the site. A 239 car parking lot will surround the store on two sides. Hannaford's admitted they had no plans for a historic building currently on the property. This project is headed towards a more formal review process under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, in part because it alters more than 10 acres of land -- but more importantly -- it would entirely alter the nature of the town's Master Plan and zoning ordinance. The parcel Hannaford's wants is located in a zone recently changed to commercial (that rezoning is the subject of a pending lawsuit against the town), and the commercial zone requires that a project's scale and design be compatible with the "rural character" of the town. The conflict is clear: Hannaford's has a huge prototype store in mind designed in a classic suburban style, and they want to place it in a town that says it does "not seek to become..a regional commercial center", but wants businesses that cater to the day to day need of local residents. Activists in Red Hook say the town's entire planning process has been based on developing "small retail and service businesses", and that the Hannaford's is off the charts in terms of scale and intensity of land use. The Planning Board will have another pass at the store on January 31st.

What you can do: Hannaford's is a 152 grocery store chain in 8 states with 24,000 employees. But that's just one link in the "chain". It is a subsidiary of a company called DelHaize America, which owns 1,400 food stores from Maine to Florida, including Food Lion. DelHaize America in turn is owned by DelHaize Freres of Belgium, which controls 1,904 stores and had 1998 sales of $15.2 billion. The conglomerate has 117,314 employees. So Red Hook is being approached by one of the largest food companies on the globe. But not the biggest. According to a report in Advertising Age, Wal-Mart, the #2 grocer in America, is considering buying Food Lion, "which in turn will give it control over retail chain Hannaford Brothers, and an overnight presence in New England without having to struggle with town councils over zoning and permit issues." If Red Hook approves this project, they could end up staring down the roadway at a Wal-Mart. Local residents have vowed that neither Hannaford's nor Wal-Mart will gain an "overnight presence" in this historic gem of a Hudson Valley town.To find out more about tiny Red Hook's efforts to keep Hannaford's hooks out of town, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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