Every once in a while, Wal-Mart gets really creative in trying to circumvent local laws that limit big box retailers. In places like Warrenton, Virginia, Wal-Mart proposed a store that straddled two towns in order to avoid a size cap in one community. Residents in Calvert County, Maryland were astonished to learn recently that Wal-Mart hopes to avoid a countywide cap on the size of buildings by breaking its proposal down into two separate stores in the town of Dunkirk, side by side. Here’s a citizen’s alert from the frontlines in Calvert County: “Dear Neighbors & Friends, If you don’t want to see Wal-Mart get away with their scandalous plan to circumvent our County’s Big Box regulations by building a 74,998 sq. ft. retail store in Dunkirk, and a 24,153 sq. ft. garden center right next to it, (with separate entrances and cash registers), and (unbelievably!) call them distinct, “co-located” stores, then come to the Planning Commission Meeting this Wed., February 16th, at 7 pm in Prince Frederick and let your voice of opposition be heard! Tell your friends! Bring your neighbors! THE PLANNING COMMISSION WILL DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THIS OR NOT ON WEDNESDAY! If we pack the meeting
room with enough citizens and demand the Planning Commission rewrite the “co-location clause” of the Big Box regs. to make them enforceable and capable of doing what they were intended to do (protect us from slimy schemers like WalMart), we just might have a chance.” Last summer, residents in Calvert County collected 1,200 signatures on a petition against Wal-Mart. The group is now trying to contact residents on that list to attend next week’s hearing.
This scheme to build two stores side by side to avoid the county’s size cap is just another example of Wal-Mart’s good neighbor policy: If you can figure out a “good” way to screw the “neighbors”, do whatever you can get away with. The clear intent of the county is to limit the scale of buildings. Wal-Mart’s plans are designed to ignore local intent, and build what the company thinks will generate the most profits. For local contacts in Calvert County, contact:[email protected]”