Residents in Pittsfield Township, Michigan have been trying to block the permitting of a Wal-Mart supercenter. The citizen’s group, Pittsfield Community First, has at least won some financial concessions from Wal-Mart, but they have more conditions on the table they want township officials to build into the deal. Here’s their report of the latest concessions from Wal-Mart: “Our efforts to stop Wal-Mart across from 3 schools are on the front page of the Ann Arbor News today (11.15.05). Pittsfield Community First won a huge concession against Wal-Mart in getting them to pay for extensive road improvements, restricting the egress from their store & communicating that building next to schools is not good business! The proposed Wal-Mart falls within 1000 feet of school property. Our citizens’ group has asked the local township board to vote on 11 ordinances to keep their residents safe & reduce the safety, environmental & business impact of stores like Wal-Mart. Pittsfield Township board is facing recall due to their inaction.” According to the Ann Arbor News, Wal-Mart agreed to conditions imposed by the Washtenaw County Road Commission. Wal-Mart’s community affairs manager said the road agreement “far exceeded” what has been required in many other projects in other communities where the company has built — which is absurd, because Wal-Mart has already agreed to pay millions in road work at this site. Under the added provisions, they agreed to pay up to $20,000 for traffic-calming devices, and that they would be liable for the cost of new traffic signals at several intersections, if they are needed during that time. The added cost of these new provisions are minor when compared to the $3 million worth of road improvements, including added lanes and signals, Wal-Mart had already agreed to. These improvements should be borne by Wal-Mart, since they make it easier for shoppers to get in and out of their store. PCF said the new store will generate traffic that will be a hazard to students at nearby Harvest Elementary School and Saline High School. “Our reaction is that we’re glad we asked for it, because we got what we asked for,” Pittsfield Community First told the Ann Arbor News. “It sets a precedent that Wal-Mart traffic mixing with schools would be a bad thing.” Several public officials are facing a recall vote over their handling of the Wal-Mart application. Pittsfield Community First is now pursuing the following additional 11 conditions: 1. Request that the Public Safety Director carry out a Public Safety Impact Assessment for the development at State and Michigan Ave. 2. Prohibit firearm sales within 1,000 feet of school property. 3. Require stores with more than 500 parking spaces and within 1,000 feet of school property to provide parking lot security 24 hours a day. 4. Sex Offender Ordinance — businesses within 1,000 feet of school property must verify employee criminal background records for comparison with State’s registry of sexual offenders. (Compliments Gov. Granholm’s recent legislation). 5. Prohibit RV overnight parking at commercial businesses within 1,000 feet of school property. 6. Require store hours for businesses greater than 100,000 square feet and within 1,000 feet of school property to not exceed 8am — 10pm. 7. Prohibit retail businesses with more than 700 parking spaces from building within 1,000 feet of school property (This would mean no Phase 2 as Wal-Mart is currently planning). 8. Require permeable concrete parking lots for new businesses built after November, 2005 with more than 300 parking spaces. 9. Restrict access to potentially abusive substances (inhalants) in businesses within 1,000 feet of school property. 10. Fast food restaurants prohibited within 1,000 feet of school property (in conjunction with the Michigan Surgeon General’s Healthy Schools, Healthy Students, Healthy Communities initiative, Harvard studies, and Governor Granholm’s initiative
of reducing state medical costs. 11. Demolition Bond – new retailers of over 80,000 sq. ft. must post a “demolition bond” with the township prior to construction of the building. This bond would be used for the demolition or other costs necessary to assure appropriate redevelopment or reuse of the retail facility if left vacant for more than 12 months.
For local contacts in Pittsfield, Michigan, contact [email protected]