March 06, 2005

WM Supercenter in Woodland Park, CO

In The Gazette, Rich Laden has written an excellent broad overview (cached version) of the debate over big boxes--and WM in particular--in Woodland Park:

But in a town such as Woodland Park, a scenic, 20-minute drive up Ute Pass from the Springs and home to about 7,000 people, opposition to Wal-Mart isn’t just about the retailer’s corporate policies.

Simply put, much of it hits close to home. Some residents worry a Wal-Mart store — or a Target, Home Depot or other big box — would disrupt the town’s character with more people, traffic and even crime, while it changes customer buying habits and harms longtime mom and pop businesses.

Woodland Park voters will decide May 3 whether to enact a six-month moratorium on retailers larger than 75,000 square feet.

“Woodland Park is a very unique community,” said Erik Stone of Citizens for Responsible Growth, the anti-Wal-Mart group. “It serves very much as a bedroom community for Colorado Springs. It’s a sense of place.

“When you’re there, you’re somewhere with incredible natural beauty. You have Pikes Peak above the town. Big retailers, whether it’s Wal-Mart, Kmart or Home Depot, anybody of that size and scale, we don’t think it’s a good fit for the community.”

The politically active, adult (non-felon?) members of the community will now decide the issue for everyone.

Posted by Kevin on March, 6 2005 at 10:55 AM | TrackBack

Comments & Trackbacks
Erik Stone wrote:

The moratorium vote will not decide the issue for Woodland Park. In fact, the moratorium calls for research and revision, if needed, of the city's master plan, which currently does not address the appropriateness of Big Box Retail in the rural mountain community of Woodland Park. The Planning commission and the city council will get to vote on the zoning application. it will be up the citizens whether they wish to call for a referendum on the zoning decision.

-- March 8, 2005 02:56 PM

Kevin Brancato wrote:

Erik,

Thanks for the clarification, but I've seen elsewhere that the "research" to be done by both sides is nothing but a formal rehashing of already obvious positions.

I agree that a moratorium is not a final decision, legally. But the moratorium, if passed, will indicate which coalition -- yours or WM's -- has enough political control to effectively determine whether or not a WM Supercenter will be built in Woodland Park.

Besides, WM could do in Woodland Park exactly what it just did in Dunkirk, MD -- attaching a 74,998 sqft store to a 25,000 sqft garden center. WM could put a grocery store right next to a standard WM, and there might not be much anybody on the zoning commission could do about it.

Also,iIf a WM is built, it will STILL be up to the citizens -- by using their wallets, not their votes -- whether or not WM is "appropriate" for your rural mountain community. If it isn't, it will close. But that's a different definition of appropriate.

-- March 8, 2005 03:18 PM

Michael Callen wrote:

The City of Woodland Park spoke loud and clear and voted by a 2:1 margin on May 3rd to turn down the moratorium. The CRG doesn't know when to quit so they are AGAIN going to cost the citizen of Woodland Park $12,000 in direct costs for ANOTHER special election. The Woodland Park City Council after listening to HOURS of talking from both sides went ahead and approved the rezoning that will allow Wal-mart to move forward. Many Woodland Park residents wonder what the 'real' agenda of those who head the CRG is... maybe to run for public office... and ANY mention of their name gets public recognition....

So now CGR has collected (possibly) enough signatures to have another $12,000 expense... they were in a panic late last week as they were collecting signatures at the grocery stores without making sure that those who signed were 1/ registered to vote and 2/actually lived in the City of Woodland Park... many residents live in the county areas that the city surrounds. They made comment the they were being sandbagged when it was really their own poor signature gathering techniques.

And what is CRG's real problem with a Wal-Mart? I've read their website many times and I can't really figure it out. I beleive they are a small number of homeowners that bought multi-hundred thousand dollar homes near the proposed site and they don't want it. They say they speak for Woodland Park and Teller county residents and if ALL could vote on this issue I don't think CRG could muster 1,000 votes out of more then 20,000 resident.

CRG should give Woodland Park a $12,000 deposit on the election that they will get back IF they are right.

This is my humble opinion.

-- May 23, 2005 01:19 AM

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