Greenfield Residents Fight Proposed Wal-Mart

A group of Greenfield residents who are fighting a proposed “big box” store which they say would be a Wal-Mart, released the following statement on March 4. Contact information for the residents follows the statement. Valley Post articles about the proposed store are at:

www.valleypost.org/2009/04/22/pro-big-box-greenfield-mayor-voted-out

www.valleypost.org/2008/10/02/big-box-battle

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The neighbors of the Mackin French King parcel and the defendants, Greenfield Investors, signed a joint dismissal today of the appeal in the Greenfield Conservation Commission case in Franklin County Superior Court…

The neighbors believe that they essentially won one of their major battles--which was to force the landowner to clean up his polluted wetland, and to force the developer to move its massive store off Wetland 4. The issue of size was not addressed, but will be in the next phase.

When we began this process three years ago, the Conservation Commission was claiming that Wetland 4 was not even a wetland, and the developer presented plans to put its store and parking lot over that wetland--destroying it completely.

Now, as a result of our intervention, the wetland must be restored---not replicated elsewhere---and in fact it will be expanded. The Conservation Commission review was so flawed that the state Department of Environmental Protection had to file its own appeal of the Commission's decision---and now we have a wetland resource that will be protected and enhanced.

The neighbors remain concerned that to build a store this size, the 100 foot buffer zone around this project will be destroyed and paved over in many areas. While the Conservation Commission ignored our concerns about the incompatible size of this building--two and a half times larger than the Greenfield Stop
& Shop supermarket--we believe this issue will have more traction before the Greenfield Planning Board.

Now we move onto Phase II of this review, which is the special permit, “major development review,” and site plan review of the store itself. The homeowners in the Canada Hill neighborhood, and the whole eastern part of town, will continue to assert that this proposal is incompatible with a residential neighborhood, and that in its present state is unacceptable.

This project is located in the French King overlay district, whose purpose according to the Greenfield zoning ordinance is to create an attractive entryway into town, and to “minimize strip
development and traffic congestion.” This overlay district was set aside as a special overlay to protect scenic and natural features. Placing a big box store in this gateway to our town defies all rational land use planning.

The neighbors also feel that an enormous superstore is incompatible with existing uses, and will detract from the character and scale of neighboring properties. The project as proposed has no screening, no buffering, and no open spaces---it is a wall of concrete surrounded by a sea of asphalt.

But the enormity of this project should concern all residents in
Greenfield and surrounding towns. We believe that a careful review of this proposal will show that it will have a significant adverse fiscal impact on the town, and surrounding towns, that it will adversely impact adjacent properties, the neighborhood, and the environment, and that it will result
in unsafe vehicular circulation, reducing the service level of traffic for the full length of High Street and surrounding intersections. This project will also detract from the downtown as a commercial center, and undermine the revitalization focus of current efforts in our central commercial area.

We will be asking the Planning Board to dramatically scale back the size of this project---which they have the right to do---and to limit the time of operation and extent of facilities.

This big box store three times the size of a football field is the wrong size and in the wrong place for Greenfield and area towns. We hope that these arguments will not be lost on the members of the Planning and Zoning Board.

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The residents who released this statement can be reached via Al Norman. His web site is www.sprawl-busters.com

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