Sprawl-Busters reported on September 20, 2005, that residents in Fairfax, Ohio had formed a group, Fairfax First, to stop the development of a proposed 200,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter. The land the retailer wants is located on the site of a former Ford transmission plant. This week, Fairfax First released the following statement urging the Mayor to let voters have the final say on the rezoning of land for the controversial supercenter: “Fairfax residents have asked Mayor Theodore Shannon and Village Council members to present the rezoning of the former Ford transmission plant at Murray Avenue and Red Bank Road as a standard ordinance, not an “emergency” ordinance, on January 17 to preserve Fairfax residents’ rights to vote on this issue in a community-wide election. “Many people in Fairfax applaud the Council’s efforts to transform the old Ford plant and bring new businesses to Fairfax,” says Dan Schneider, co-chair of Fairfax First and a longtime Fairfax resident. “But almost 90 percent of the residents we reached through canvassing are concerned about allowing an enormous 24-hour store into our community.” The group maintains that a 24-hour superstore, like a Wal-Mart supercenter, will bring significantly more traffic, including semi trucks, to the narrow streets of Fairfax. “We all know that people will use other streets besides Red Bank to get to this site,” says Schneider. “Shoppers from nearby communities and others will travel down Watterson and other streets to avoid traffic pile-ups on Red Bank and get to the site.” Increased crime throughout the village remains a concern since a 24-
hour superstore will bring more people to Fairfax at all hours. Though Fairfax officials plan to build a police sub-station at the development site, that will not deter the increased number of criminals who are likely to be on Fairfax streets throughout the night, maintains Schneider. “We are not certain that Mayor Shannon and the Village Council members fully realize how deeply these concerns run through our community,” Schneider notes. “We would like to see the hours at the site restricted so the superstore closes no later than 10 or 11 pm. That’s why we are asking the Council to preserve our right to have a community vote on the hours of the proposed development. We want to keep Fairfax as quiet and safe as possible.” The Village of Fairfax Council meets again on January 17 at the Fairfax Municipal Building to discuss plans for the former Ford transmission plant and will take comments from Fairfax residents at that meeting.”
The irony of possibly using an old Ford plant, where union workers once turned out parts for American cars, for an anti-union retailer that imports billions of dollars in Chinese products,is inescapable. It certainly is an example of “trading down” on the land use food chain, from good jobs with good health benefits, to Wal-Mart jobs with subsistence wages and stripped down health care. Public officials in Fairfax ought to pick up the phone and call officials in Tucson, Arizona about the crime statistics posted in the neighboring story on Newsflash. For more information on this race to the bottom, visit www.fairfaxfirst.org or call Fairfax First at (513) 588-4598.