11/19/2009

Smart Growth's Last Shot?

Posted by MJ

LUSJ reporting that "Smart Growth" has submitted its last chance appeal on the current suit. Seeing that unanimous decisions against it are the norm, this should go the same way.

The Court of Appeals will rule by mid-January whether to grant or deny Smart Growth’s bid for another day in court. That’s a bit more than two years since the group first filed suit against the town and Walmart.

The Court of Appeals is its last stop in the fight over planning waivers, according to Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman. If the court denies its request for a hearing, “that’s the end of this suit, period,” he said.

On Tuesday, Seaman declined to predict if the group could find grounds for further litigation.
 That the process takes up to two years says something about our court system and/or what is backing it up.
 Semi-related: Overlawyered is always an interesting, if not maddening read.

Super-center 2011? Last post on the topic here: Walmart Inching Closer

18 comments:

Rocketboy said...

I wonder if we can start suing Smart Growth for wasting our tax money?

And Overlawyered is a good site, but sometimes, they are just anti-lawyer for the sake of being anti-lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe sue the the town and make them finally tell Walmart to put it on a big site where it belongs!

MJ said...

That has already been tried and continually shot down. I guess the size is relative. It is an appropriate site made even bigger by the Walmart being less than half the size of the mall it's replacing.

Final EIS with comments/responses etc. Interesting read.
http://www.elockport.com/Walmart/November-2006-Final-Lockport-FEIS.pdf

Anonymous said...

MJ

You continue to say that the site is appropriate based on the new WalMart being smaller then the existing mall. It was the Town who changed the zoning laws to what they are today. And those zoning laws say that WalMart's current design does not fit. Smart Growth is only asking the town to abide by the laws that they themselves created. I personally can not fault Smart Growth for exhausting all of their legal options provided to them by the legal system to put this project on a more suitable lot. A lot that would not require the bending of the rules which the town is trying to do.If the town politicians had the balls to stand up to WalMart nearly six years ago, this project would have been up and running four and a half years ago where it belongs, and everyone would have been happy. I guess the only bad part of that would have been, we would have missed out on all the creative banter between sides.

Rocketboy said...

Should I copy and paste my responses to the anti-Walmarters just like they seem to copy-paste their objections? I'm tired of trying to hold a conversation with them.

Their anger is just something I can never understand. Nor do I think I actually want to. I have more important things to worry about in the course of a day. Like should I wear a jacket. Or, why do so many people not turn on their headlights just because it's 5 o'clock. It's still dark, now it's just dark at 5. Don't you notice that you cannot see your speedometer? Or why are you blocking traffic to go into a driveway, when if you went in the driveway around the corner, you'd be be parked by now? Why do you think I'd turn left in front of you, when I cannot see the traffic in the other lane? And why don't you keep going when I wave you on? You know, things like that.

Anonymous said...

Even if it does arguably fit on the lot they are trying to 'squeeze' it on, the point is if the town had followed it's own laws and forced it to an appropriate site we could have had a 'full sized' super Walmart instead of the 'mini' super Walmart we will probably end up with.

Anonymous said...

Rocketboy said...

Nothing of relevance or intelligence. Which is the difference between a Rocketboy and a Rocket scientist

Rocketboy said...

Anon 1: Really? That's your only point of contention, is that the proposed Super Walmart is not BIG enough for you? And how is it an argument if it fits on the lot or not, IF IT'S SMALLER THAN THE EXISTING STRUCTURE.

Anon 2:Oh no, I'm terribly hurt. Mock my alias that I've been using for oh, 20 years, and one that I've stuck with because it's easy to remember, not widely used, and is a vague reference to a cartoon that I did watch as a kid (and is rather historically important).

Of course, posting something that was not relevant was, yes, the point.

Just like copying and pasting the same tired anti-Walmart arguments are. No matter how many times they have been proven wrong, it doesn't stop the copy-paste.

At least my post was based on reality, and not some unfounded hatred of something, just because it's big.

*sigh*

I so wanted to avoid getting into a Walmart argument again. I really wanted to.

MJ said...

I guess it's a moot point with each side of the argument having their say in the matter. We shall see what the judges think (again).

I wonder if they considered gutting the inside of the mall and give us a 400,000sg ft Walmart?

LockportGal said...

I am so sick of the whole Walmart issue..build it and get it over with I say. Im sick of driving to the SuperWalmart up the road. What I say...if ya dont like it...MOVE.

Rocketboy said...

MJ.. Nice :)

Anonymous said...

"LockportGal said...

I am so sick of the whole Walmart issue..build it and get it over with I say. Im sick of driving to the SuperWalmart up the road. What I say...if ya dont like it...MOVE."

I agree totally, you should defintely move closer to the super Walmart and make it easier on yourself.

" Rocketboy said...
Anon 1: Really? That's your only point of contention, is that the proposed Super Walmart is not BIG enough for you? And how is it an argument if it fits on the lot or not, IF IT'S SMALLER THAN THE EXISTING STRUCTURE."

Have you ever heard of progress, and people changing laws to make things better? Zoning and planning laws were changed to make for a better, classier Transit Road. If they hadn't of terminated all the leases in the mall yes, the mall would still be there (and we'd still have a many more stores to shop at), they wouldn't have to change for the new laws - but they couldn't build a mall that size on that lot.

Anonymous said...

How many courts and judges have to tell them no before they finally get the point?? It's no longer a legal challenge, it's a stalling tactic. The longer they keep it in the courts, the longer it takes to build.

And with Quality planning on closing, Tops will have that much less competition to worry about.
I still don't remember seeing Smart Growth people out protesting the Tops gas station that was built in the middle of the parking lot. As I remember, they were totally against the idea of Walmart building a gas station in the new Supercenter lot. I believe the phrase they used was "Transit Road doesn't need another gas station."

Guess I was at work when Smart Growth had their pickets set up at the Tops gas station...

Jake D. said...

Smartgrowth needs to shutup. The problem with buffalo is we want businesses to come here but when they do we complain, then they leave and we are angry. The walmart will be fine at the new location. The old one has to much space so why do we need a lot of space. It is a stalling tactic. We deserve a new walmart and the old space will provide a good area for expansion. Besides if they are complaining about property values, the home nearest to the walmart have little to know value anyway (sorry). im sure a walmart will be better for their house values then a vacant and hazardous eyesore

Rocketboy said...

Anon... You've contradicted yourself in one post. Congrats. You state that the zoning laws that cover the old mall property would only allow for a smaller building than Walmart is proposing to build, BUT THEN you talk about how you wish that the Mall was still open. You are you are contradicting your statement (if you really wanted a smaller building, wouldn't the mall be too large already?).

You are also willfully ignoring the fact that many of the variances that were given were due to the unique nature of the lot with BonTon owning it's own property.

Also, your comment to LockportGal makes it sound like you are one of the mall's neighbors who don't like Walmart. If that's the case, I have no sympathy for you. The mall existed since what, the mid/late 70's? You live right next to one of the main roads into Lockport, and just down the street from it's only High School? And I'm to feel sorry that there's going to be a rebuilt retail property? Sorry, that ain't gonna happen. That's the same group of people who bitched when the first Walmart / Tops complex was built, because they expected Snyder Rd. to be a half-built dead-end road for all it's life (ignoring the fact that there were houses on it, which to me, would indicate that the road would be built out some day).

The reality of the situation is that no matter WHERE Walmart wanted to build a store, there would be protests and legal issues. EVEN IF there were no variances and existing infrastructure, there would be people fighting it. As long as people like to demonize whoever they see as Number 1. As long as Walmart isn't unionized, and the union hasn't run out of money. And as long as Tops really is the only game in town for a grocery store. There will be people fighting Walmart.

If all the sudden Walmart decided to move down the road a bit to an empty lot, the first thing that they would have to do is an Envrionmental Impact study. If you think the legal battles about zoning are bad, oh boy, you've never seen anything like the EI lawsuits.

So don't tell me that if they went down the street to an empty lot, everything would be hunky-dory. Either that's a lie, willful ignorance, or you are referring to your own personal opinion being changed.

Face it, we don't have the per capita income to get Wegmans here. Don't expect to see a Budways anytime soon either. Unless some other company starts expanding into WNY, we will be stuck with Tops until the end of time.

Or do you like having no real local choice in the matter.

(Yes, I know about Quality. Yes, I know about Aldi. Neither can compare to Tops when it comes to selection.)

(PS: If you're going to want to engage in back and fourth dialog, why not take the time to get a profile? You have your choice of how you want to log-in, and it makes these things easier. It also keeps you from looking like a Smart Growth/Union/Tops plant. Even if you don't use your real name (like me), it still adds consistency to the discussion.)

MJ said...

Development will happen. We have to make sure we get the highest quality development and so far it looks like we are getting one of the better Walmarts out there. We should demand nothing less.

Zoning is just a bunch of useless, and usually statistically baseless, numbers that have resulted in the all the crap that lines S. Transit today. My main interest is development /planning and I'll get more into it with some future posts as I am currently working my through several books on various topics.

The overlay district is a good (but small) start. But expecting a large big box store to follow the same rules as smaller storefronts is unrealistic. Go through the the town site page on this project, look through the renderings and site plans and come back with some detailed critiques. "Its too big for the lot" is way too generic to even discuss.

Some quick stats: most parking is never at capacity even on the busiest day of the year. All this over required parking coupled with ridiculous set-backs ensure that the ugly parking will dominate the front of the site. Zoning gives us what we have. To complain that we are not meeting some of the zoning requirements sadly is usually a good thing.

Rocketboy said...

What MJ, you don't like the current Walmart location with it's expansive parking lot, or the hodge-podge of buildings next to the old McDonalds, or the driveway to no-where at the Right Aid (the one that was once an Eckhart)?

Speaking of McDonalds, did Smart Growth also put their weight against the new McDonalds? They very specifically got a variance, err, "didn't follow the law", with regards to having a driveway to adjacent property. Only one person was involved in that lawsuit (the adjacent property owner), as it would make his property less attractive for commercial development, as anyone building something on his property would also need a variance.

MJ said...

I actually like the new out buildings near the old McDonald's. There just are not enough of them. If S. Transit through the town was lined with smaller semi-contiguous stores closer to the street with the green space between it and the side walk it would actually look nice and may actually attract some pedestrians. Put the parking at the back (sides) and big box stores at the rear of the site.

Picture the HD depot plaza with the stores turned toward S. Transit and Shimer. It might actually develop a sense of place. It's the type of coding the town needs to get a "pretty" place that they and people want. The current zoning requirements with huge set backs, small buildings, over sized parking, and random green space obtains the scattered mess that now exists. Forcing zoning to be met for the sake of zoning is a zero sum game.

People are NYMBYs because zoning gives an asphalt mess for people passing through and offers nothing to the people who live nearby. The Rite-Aid and High and S. Transit a good example. An asphalt and brick set-back bunker with zero amenities to those who live near it and that are able to walk to it.

Post a Comment

Please be be respectful. Diverse opinions are welcome and encouraged. Trolling/baiting/personal attacks/spam will be deleted on sight, as will respnding to one that has yet to be deleted. Do not encourage the behavior.