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2000-08-06
Miami, OH. Lowe's Pushing Out Senior Citizens

Even I, who has fought superstores for the past 7 years, was appalled to read in today's Cincinnati Enquirer a story about Lowe's trying to displace 169 senior citizens from their mobile home park. This has to be a new low for Lowe's. Home Depot tried the same thing in Santa Rosa, CA in 1995. But residents of the Journey's End mobile home park got organized, threatened to picket a nearby Home Depot, and the journey came to an abrupt end when Home Depot "relocated" their project. "They said it was generating more heat than they wanted to endure," said the Mayor of Santa Rosa. I don't know who is more pathetic here: Lowe's, the landowner, or the passive Miami Township Trustees. One of the Trustees told the Enquirer: "I feel for these people. Obviously, it's a private property issue. The Constitutin allows him to make the best use of his property." No, the Constitution does NOT allow a landowner to make the best use of their property. Landowers have to comply with local zoning, and their projects must promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents -- including the residents whose homes will be lost. In addition, the landlord, Jake Sieber has no "constitutional" right to a zoning change. His land is zoned mobile park, and the Miami Trustees have the local police power to deny any rezoning that does not meet the general welfare of the residents of Miami -- in this case, which dislocates dozens of the elderly. Rezoning must be compatible with the Comprehensive Plan, and should serve some public need. With a Home Depot going up 2 miles to the east, this project presents no compelling public purpose. It is good for Lowe's stockholders, but not Miami homeowners. The Trustees have every right to put the needs of Romar Villa homeowners before the needs of the Big Corporation. How absurd is it that a "home improvement" store is spending its money to destroy the homes and memories of 169 Miami taxpayers? Let Lowe's find land that is already properly zoned. The Romar Villa case asks the question: How low will Lowe's go?

What you can do: Do you think the senior citizens in this mobile home park are worth more than one more Lowe's near one more Home Depot? If so, go to the Cincinnati Enquirer website (www.enquirer.com) and send them a letter to the editor, letting them know that sprawl-busters everywhere are watching what happens to the "Miami 169". Some of these elders have lives at Romar Villa for three decades. "We've cut the lawn for 32 years," one senior told the paper. "We're devastated. It has deteriorated to this."










 
 
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