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1999-12-19
Granby, CT. No 'fundamental values' at Wal-Mart

Santa tried to quietly dump a huge superstore under this small town's tree, but local residents saw the fat man coming, and are now sounding the alarm. A new group called "Granby First" has formed in this Connecticut town of roughly 10,000 people. Wal-Mart representatives quietly came into town for a low-visibility meeting with the town's Economic Development Commission, but the word spread rapidly. Now the Selectmen are having an informational meeting on December 20th, and Granby First plans to be sure local residents make their feelings known. Residents point out that there are already two Wal-Mart's within 12 miles of Granby, so there is no compelling public need for the store. Second, the location along Route 10 is right across the street from an elementary school, and adjacent to a game refuge. Third, Granby residents note that the scale and intensity of a Wal-Mart supercenter (plus 4 other stores) is out of synch with the town's Plan of Development. In Granby, the community has articulated in its 1993 Plan a list of "fundamental values", which includes maintaining and preserving the character of a "small rural community" and fending off "encroaching suburbia". Nothing could better represent encroaching suburbia than a 185,000 s.f. superstore on 32 acres of land. Finally, the parcel Wal-Mart wants is in the "Economic Development" zone, and retail sales in that zone requires a special permit. The developer must show that this project is of a size and intensity of use that "will be in harmony with the orderly development of the area" and that the design elements of the superstore are "suitable in relation" to the characteristics of the neighborhood, and will not "adversely affect property value in the neighborhood." Granby First says this project clashes with all the "fundamental values" held dear by this community, and have vowed to fight the plan as being inconsistent with the Plan of Development and the Zoning ordinance in town.

What you can do: In addition to the nearby school, and nature preserve (the McLean Game Refuge), the site also lies along a narrow two lane stretch of road in Granby -- a town whose population growth was cut in half during the 1990s. There is a very questionable market for this store, and an even more questionable piece of land proposed for it. For further information about Granby First, contact info@sprawl-busters.com.










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

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