Residents in Yakima, Washington are wondering how many Wal-Marts you can fit on the head of a pin? Here’s a report filed today from a community that already has a Wal-Mart, and isn’t yearning for another: “Yakima is a city of about 85,000 people. We have one Wal Mart on the East side of town and now we are threatened with another one on the West side of town. The proposed Wal- Mart on the West side of town known as West Valley is supposed to be built right beside a large church, across from an elementary school that is a “walking school” (meaning that most of the children walk to school instead of being bussed) and right in the middle of a middle class, single family home neighborhood. This super store is suppose to be built right behind some single family homes with little if any buffering. Unemployment here is close — if not the highest — in the state. The economy of this town has been hard hit. Another Wal Mart would close many business that pay living wage jobs. We are fighting the best we can but are feeling very frustrated. We have been talking to the newspaper, city council, city development staff but all everyone can see is sales tax revenue. We are having a hard time convincing people that another Wal Mart will kill this town.
Large commercial projects located in the midst of significant residential developments can be challenged for their impact on surrounding property values, impact on traffic congestion, and incompatibility of land uses. Your zoning code and land use plan hold the key to language that might be used against this kind of inharmonious placement of sprawl. All of these adverse impacts are related to scale, and residents in Yakima can object to intensity of land use, even if the land is properly zoned. For local contacts in the Yakima area, email [email protected]