Because of a total lack of regional planning, sometimes neighboring towns part ways over big box development. If towns would work together to plan for their future, this would not happen, but most towns are ‘in it for themselves’ when they approve big stores, and the revenue they seek to gain comes from their neighbors. No wonder, then, that according to the Enterprise newspaper, the city of Taunton, Massachusetts is taking its next door neighbor, the city of Raynham, to court, over the latter’s decision to approve a Wal-Mart supercenter. The Taunton City Council voted unanimously this week to appeal the decision of the Raynham planning and zoning boards approving a 209,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter. The Taunton council voted to spend whatever funds are necessary to pursue the case. Taunton Mayor Robert Nunes was very clear about his feelings over the Wal-Mart controversy. “I support the council’s decision. The construction of Wal-Mart on Route 138 will be devastating to Taunton. Taunton will get all the traffic while Raynham gets all the fees and tax revenues. The city is appealing on the grounds that “the impacts on Taunton were not adequately considered and the mitigation is inadequate to address the particular harms to Taunton’s interests.” One Taunton Councilor told the newspaper, “We have to protect the city of Taunton and the residents of that section of the city. The traffic is going to be unbelievable. Hopefully, Wal-Mart will listen to our concerns.” Taunton officials have asked Wal-Mart to make traffic light, intersection and road improvements that could cost $1.7 million — but Wal-Mart has refused. The Mayor says the Wal-Mart, which is only half a mile from the Taunton border, will hike traffic on the affected city roads by 68%. Officials estimate 10,000 new cars a day will worsen the level of service on an already dangerous and congested stretch of road. The citizen’s group, Raynham First, which has been fighting the project since the beginning, told reporters that it is also considering an appeal.
One man’s ceiling, is another man’s floor. In Massachusetts, local towns don’t even keep sales taxes, so all the community gets is the property tax increase. Subtract from that the public safety costs of police and fire, plus the loss of other local businesses, and the goose, in this case, has no golden egg. For local contacts in Raynham, contact [email protected]