There are no water or sewer lines to the farmland Wal-Mart wants to convert into a supercenter, but the company wants to proceed anyway. However, residents of Drumore, Pennsylvania have vowed they won’t let a developer destroy 90 acres of Amish farmland in an area of town known as “the Buck”. Developer Wolfson Verrichia wants to build a 370,000 s.f. shopping center — anchored by a Wal-Mart supercenter — including a bank, restaurant, convenience store and possible gas station, with parking for more than 2,000 cars, and generating 25,000 gallons of sewage per day. The so-called ‘Drumore Crossing’ project on Route 272 has attracted opposition from many local residents. An engineer for the project said the site will have to get its water from a 400-foot deep well on the north side of the property. The water system will require a storage tank 40 feet in diameter and 15 feet high. An underground irrigation system would dispose of treated sewage from a sewage treatment plant, also on the property. 25,000 gallons of sewage will be generated daily by the retail uses. The developer told residents he “saw a need in the community” because the nearest large retail center was 9 miles away. “People can be shopping here, not leaving the area,” he explained. Local residents formed group to oppose the project, and called themselves “The 196 group”, a reference to the sprawl-busters.com calcuation that 195 communities have defeated sprawl-marts already. “There are 195 Wal-Mart stores that weren’t allowed in the U.S. because people fought them,” spokesman Ron Cariello said. “We’re hoping to be the 196th.” At a township meeting July 31st, an engineer for the developer suggested that the company is expecting Penn Dot to fix the traffic problem for them, possibly building a whole new interchange. “They have no idea what they are going to do for fire protection,” one resident told Sprawl-Busters, ” as our volunteer companies are not equipped to handle that sort of situation. The same goes for police force. They had no answer for the crowd about that. Their waste water is going to be filtered into the headwaters of Fishing Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River, as well as a popular place for anglers to fish. When asked if they ever built a center this large utilizing only a well and self contained sewerage system, they said no. They had a middle man buy this farm off of an unsuspecting Amish man who had no idea what they were going to do with it.” Residents expressed concerns about crime, loss of wildlife, light pollution and impacts on the nearby creek’s headwaters. “If this goes through,our property value’s going to be nonexistent,” one neighbor told the Intelligencer Journal. “I wish they’d take all their charts and diagrams and get out,” Cariello said. “They’re ruining a small-town way of life.”
Talk about sprawl! Here’s an example of farmland — the developer says its zoned commercial — that has no infrastructure at all. So the developer, unable to connect to a water and sewer line, is going to create onsite septic and water. Why? Because residents now have to travel 15 minutes or so to the nearest big box store. He makes it sound like these residents are living with no indoor plumbing! What ever happened to the idea that huge stores were regional facilities, not needed every few miles? How can any local community countenance converting farmland into another Sprawl-Mart? This is a classic case of Notsosmart Growth, in an area that has already been hard hit with retail overdevelopment.