Residents in El Paso County, Colorado can’t believe it’s over — at least for now. Their jubilant report of a Wal-Mart defeat came in as follows: “We beat Wal-Mart!!! They have been trying to put a Supercenter into our local community (El Paso County, Colorado) for the past 5 years and everything came to a head last night in a grueling 14 hour public hearing with our County Commissioners.We are in an unincorporated section of El Paso County but use Colorado Springs as our mailing address. The parcel in question was in the County but the Town of Monument was looking to annex the site to try and get the tax revenues from the site. Nearby Colorado Springs by the way has SIX (6) Super centers in it, all within 5 miles of each other. This would have been the 7th Super Wal-Mart in the immediate area.”According to the Gazette newspaper, the El Paso County Commission on July 15th rejected a rezoning request for a Wal-Mart Supercenter near Interstate 25. About 150 residents turned out at the hearing to oppose the plan. The commissioners obliged them by voting 4-0 to reject the plan to build a 201,000-square-foot store. “The fact is right now the road system stinks,” said one resident. “As far as adding more demand on the road with Wal-Mart, it’s unpardonable even to consider that.” Residents argued that Wal-Mart would damage their property values because of the high traffic and lighted parking lot. Neighbors complained that they were deceived by real estate agents about the future growth in the area. “We were told it would be zoned ‘mom and pop’ commercial,” one resident testified. The Commissioners said in part their rejection was based on Wal-Mart’s inability to agree with the town of Monument over annexation of the property. County officials explain that now Wal-Mart has to wait another year to apply again, in which time residents could close the door by passing a cap on the size of retail buildings. The Monument town board voted Monday against backing the rezoning request when it went before the El Paso County Commission. Monument Mayor Byron Glenn said building Wal-Mart outside the town would strain the Police Department because officers might have to respond to crimes at the store. The plan that was before the Commissioners would have had Wal-Mart pay nearly $4 million for upgrading local roads to accommodate the roughly 13,500 new car trips daily the superstore would generate, The Gazette reported. Wal-Mart shoppers would have been hit with a 3% surcharge on their purchases at the store, and part of that surcharge would have gone to the Triview Metropolitan District, a government agency that would provide water and sewer service. The owner of the 30 acre parcel told the newspaper, “I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a neighbor like Wal-Mart, who’s going to put all that money into making it an attractive area.” Spoken like a true landowner with a multi-million deal slipping away.
Another tale of bait and switch. Local homeowners buy in, never knowing that that vacant piece of 30 acres is going to turn into a superstore one day. The real estate broker never mentioned a Wal-Mart. All across the nation, thousands of homeowners have been misled by the people they entrusted with their largest investment. One woman I worked with in Lake Charles, Louisiana, lost 25% of her home’s value when Wal-Mart moved into her back yard. The assessor wrote on her property card: “House backs up to a Wal-Mart” as the reason for dropping her home valuation. For similar stories, order the book “The Case Against Wal-Mart” from this website. And how about that 3% surcharge on Wal-Mart purchases? How’d they get Wal-Mart to swing along with that deal?