Another small town has voted to reject the big box formula for success. The City Council in Harrison, Ohio this week voted down a rezoning that would have paved the way for a Wal-Mart supercenter on 54 acres of land near I-74. Harrison’s planning commission had voted 5-0 in favor of the change.
“If you live in this town, you know the name of the people who run your hardware store,” said Dave Small, owner of Small’s Do It Best Hardware Store. “With all these big boxes, pretty soon it will become generic America. It’s hard to find those unique little mom-and-pop stores that give a flavor to the community. People are trying to hold on to that small-town feel, that feeling of community.” Residents complained that traffic along New Haven Road was already a serious problem. Destruction of the small business character of the town was a second concern. Third, residents said the town would incur more expenses than revenues from a Wal-Mart superstore. Wal-Mart’s mistake in Harrison was choosing land that was zoned for residential use. According to a report from the front lines in Harrison, “On June 21 Harrison City Council rejected a zone change request to build a Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Harrison. The vote came after a two-year battle against the retail giant. We’re not sure what’s going to happen next – whether they will sue or just go away. But for right now, Wal-Mart has been slam-dunked in Harrison.”
Has Wal-Mart learned how to read a zoning map? Or do they just not care? For contacts at the Harrison Residents for Responsible Development, contact [email protected]