Decision against supercenter practical and reasonable

Filed under: Opinion |

Dear Carl Schueler, Assistant Director of County Planning, and El Paso County Commissioners,

Allow me to thank each of you for your work in consideration of the proposed Wal-Mart at Baptist Road and I-25. I can only imagine the amount of effort and time that you are required to invest in such decisions.

I would like to voice my opposition to the entry of Wal-Mart at the site proposed. My opposition has both practical and principled reasons.

First the practical reasons:

n Without the Wal-Mart, the traffic congestion at Baptist and I-25 is bad and rapidly growing worse. With the addition of the Wal-Mart, this congestion would become extreme, leading to, at best, much frustration on commuters’ parts and, at worst, traffic related safety problems. With funding not available for road improvements, this congestion would not be contained to just Baptist Road commuters, but to those traveling through Monument on I-25.

* A Wal-Mart in this location simply looks terrible, particularly to those in whose neighborhood it resides. Zoning in the area has been purposely set at certain levels with the express purpose of preserving the current “feel” of the area. The entry of a Wal-Mart would destroy that feel, particularly for those of us who have moved to that area to enjoy that feel. I suspect that most people, given the choice, would choose not to have to see a Wal-Mart from their front porch.

* Although much can be done to mitigate many environmental impacts of any type of development, one simply has to look at existing Wal-Mart’s to discern what will eventually become a bane to those in the surrounding area of this Wal-Mart. Twenty-four hour lighting will annoy those who can see it from their once valuable homes. Trash will be carried by the consistent Palmer/Divide winds to pollute the yards and streets of neighborhoods, both near and distant. Runoff of chemicals from leaking cars will be deposited in private wells and groundwater. Again, things can be done to mitigate these issues, but Wal-Mart has a poor track record on this issue and we should not expect that record to change simply because of the store entering this area.

* Because of the large numbers of people Wal-Mart will attract, crime will increase. An increase in crime is never a desirable outcome on the simple basis that crime is wrong. However, in this case an increase in crime in this area will severely inhibit law enforcement’s capacity to handle issues countywide due to the formidable constraints on our sheriff’s department that we have currently.

* Wal-Mart currently has a policy of allowing travelers to camp in its parking lots. Because of the appealing location of this Wal-Mart it is likely that it will become the Wal-Mart of choice for those who take advantage of this policy. Coupled with the burgeoning problem of pan handlers at the I-25/Baptist Road exchange, this policy will increase safety hazards for both drivers and pan handlers, increase crime and encourage the development of a transient community within a community designed for those choosing to leave these issues in the city.

* The entry of Wal-Mart to this site will, because of the previously stated items, reduce the values of the property surrounding it.

The reason in principle:

n The entry of Wal-Mart at this site violates already established comprehensive development plans and would require a rezoning of the site to “accommodate” the wishes of those (none of whom likely have property in or around the proposed area) who are proponents of the plan. I am a free market capitalist and do not wish to see our government constrain the progress of business. However, I do not wish to see our government override the wishes of the people it governs. Allowing Wal-Mart to enter this site will do just that by disregarding the established development plans AND disregarding the current wishes of those who live in the immediate area.

I trust that you will give due attention to the previous reasons I have proffered. As a life-long citizen of El Paso County, I desire to honor the work that each of you performs and service that each of you provides. For those of us in Northern El Paso County, please maintain your high standing and credibility by not allowing Wal-Mart to build at this site if, for no other reason than, “We The People” do not want it.

Thank you for your time and attention. Should you require further comment from me, feel free to call anytime.

Regards,

Marc Stewart