Home Depot is now building stores so close to one another that the company’s CFO Carol Tome recently said: “We’re seeing cannibalization rates of more than 30% in some of our markets, such as New England. But as far as saturation is concerned, we are not there at all.” However, residents in Clinton, New Jersey already feel the saturation of Home Depot, and are battling to keep the giant retailer out of their community. Here’s a report filed this week from sprawl-busters in New Jersey: “Home Depot is petitioning the Planning Board in Clinton, NJ to change the zoning on a 28 acre tract from Office/Business to Retail in order that they may erect a Super Store. Our town is 1.3 sq. miles with a population of 2,500 people. Home Depot has several other stores no more than 15 minutes drive from our community. The tract backs up to a National Historic District on two sides and a Category 1 trout stream, the South Branch of the Raritan, which supplies all of the water for Round Valley reservoir, one of the state’s largest drinking water supplies. The tract’s topography slopes continuously into the river. A local group of 200 residents showed up at a special Planning Board meeting to protest the proposal. The Planning Board had to move it to the local school auditorium, from the Town Hall, because a previous attempt at a meeting had failed when citizens in opposition to Home Depot packed the hearing room and created a fire hazard. This week’s meeting was held in the school auditorium. Home Depot put on a one hour presentation consisting of three experts, a financial type extolling the tax revenues, etc. that would accrue to the Town, a civil engineer describing the site plans and a traffic engineer. Dozens of people from the Town spoke in opposition to Home Depot’s request to rezone a 28 acre parcel now zoned for office-business to a retail category. There was no Home Depot employee who could answer the question of why we needed another super store on this historic and environmentally fragile site. They are seeking permssion for a 154,000 sq. ft. store. Their engineer admitted that Home Depot now gets all its deliveries between 10 PM and 6 AM and that the tractor trailers delivering the products, as well as the forklifts unloading the trucks have back up alarms. As a safety professional I know these alarms broadcast a 107 dBA signal that can be heard for a quarter mile.”
For more background on the Clinton battle to stop Home Depot, contact [email protected] For other New Jersey battles, search this Newsflash database by the state’s name.