Sprawl-Busters has been hearing from several Florida communities being assaulted by Wal-Mart. In Miramar, Florida, a group of about 50 people took to the streets to protest a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter in their community. According to the Southern Florida Sun-Sentinel, the group unfurled banners and were singing, “Hey, hey, no, no, Super Wal-Mart has to go.” The fuss is over a planned 245,000-s.f. superstore, which neighbors say would boost traffic and crime and deflate property values. “We’re fighting for our homes and for the peacefulness, which are the reasons we bought into this community,” said Rebecca Guiterrez. “It’s going to be a magnet for every crazy in the world,” said Peter Peter, another neighborhood homeowner. “It will completely change the complexion of the area.” Miramar has a Wal-Mart already, but that store could close if the current proposal is built. First Wal-Mart needs to get the 29-acre parcel rezoned from rural to community business. A proposed liquor store and tire and lube center in the plan means that the city commission must grant variances for special uses. The City Commission is expected to vote on the project sometime in June. Neighbors have been going door-to-door with petitions and have created a website, www.monarchlakes.org. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told the Sun-Sentinel, “we’ve offered to work with the neighborhoods and address constructive feedback, but Monarch Lakes in particular decided to just say no. The spokesperson added, “I understand neighbors’ concerns, but we’re going above and beyond with buffering and setbacks.”
Let’s be honest: there is no way to buffer or setback a Wal-Mart supercenter. The residents in Monarch Lakes understand exactly what they are facing: loss of privacy, loss of the night sky, loss of assessed value, increase in crime, etc. They don’t want a store more than four football fields in size. Recently, residents in Sarasota and St. Petersburg, Florida have also contacted Sprawl-Busters in the past week. If Miramar residents challenge the rezoning in court, they can slow this project down by six months to a year,if not kill it outright.