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Author Topic: Eminent Domain - The other side  (Read 4674 times)

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Offline Gary_C

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Eminent Domain - The other side
« on: May 24, 2006, 07:43:35 PM »
I just heard on the evening news about a small town in California, east of San Francisco, that had a council meeting because Walmart had purchased 17 acres on the edge of town and was planning to build one of their superstores. The town residents strongly objected to the new store, so the council voted unamiously to use eminent domain to take the property away from Walmart because the store would be considered "urban blight!"   8)

In other towns that wanted a new Walmart store, they have used eminent domain to take property away from the owners. However in this case a Walmart spokesman said "this is unfair."  ::)

Sure is hard to feel sorry for Walmart in this case. The story also said that Walmart opens 7 new stores a week?
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2006, 08:16:00 PM »
What's good for the goose should be good for the gander. If Walmart owned the land, then it is private, and shouldn't be taken away by Gov't any more than if it was Ma and Pa Kettle's property, IMO.
Also, I'm not jealous of Walmart's success. It won't last forever, but just like gas prices, as long as we demand the commodity, the success will prevail.   Walmart supplies a demand for cheap goods and all-in-one shopping. I seldom shop there.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2006, 09:32:31 PM »
Those sort of stunts backfire on towns.  We live between a college town, Mt. Pleasant to our south and a big resort town to our North, houghton lake who in the recent past embraced the larger stores.  There is another town just to our south, Clare Michigan. We used to do most of our shopping there as did a lot of other folks. Years ago the Clare city fathers stopped, and since have stopped large stores like walmart from becoming part of their community for fear of taking business from downtown.  Guess what? Most people just blow on past Clare now to shop in Mt. Pleasant or go from to hpughton Lake where they can shop in the larger stores, and where the small downtown stores receive a boom in business because of additional shoppers to the area.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2006, 05:56:47 AM »
It seems to me that there are other options available to the city council besides eminent domain.  For one, they could limit the building size allowable in their city.

Walmart will now look at this as a challenge.  They will simply go over the city limits and build there.  They had a show about it on PBS a number of years ago "When Walmart comes to town". 

Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline crtreedude

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2006, 06:07:27 AM »
Makes you wonder how deep the pockets of the town are - this is almost certainly going to be fought by  Walmart - and would think they will win. All the town will probably accomplish is to have to pay for legal fees - a lot of them.

Walmart will not want a precident like this set.

So, how did I end up here anyway?

Offline thedeeredude

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2006, 09:23:59 AM »
What do people have against letting capitalism go?

Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2006, 09:26:12 AM »
Taking is taking.   >:(
Frank Pender

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2006, 09:32:18 AM »
Well, walmart is getting to be a monopoly in the dept store business.  Thats fine for the consumer while they are getting there.  Terrible for other stores near them, and terrible for any suppliers of products.

Walmart is terrible to deal with from a suppliers point of view but once you get a contract with them they can squeeze you to death.

Once they do completely dominate the dept store field, the consumer will likely stop having such a good time.
Ken

What do people have against letting capitalism go?

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2006, 10:12:40 AM »
This story was billed as the ongoing "battle" between Walmart and the cities and towns in this country. I did see part of that earlier program about "when Walmart comes to town" and I remember there was a dispute with another town in California where the town had given Walmart some incentives for ten or fifteen years and when the time ran out, so did Walmart.

However, to me , the real story is about the use of eminent domain. The town is about 24,000 people and they have very carefully protected the appearance of the houses and neighborhoods in the town. The residents did not wish to have the very large commercial development or a retail store right next to the town and so the council acted to protect the wishes of the people, not the developer. The story did include interviews with legal experts, and they believe the town will prevail in any court.

It was very ironic when the spokesman for Walmart claimed it was "unfair" to use eminent domain to block their development. There have apparently been many other willing cities and towns that have been more than willing to use eminent domain to further Walmart's developments.

Eminent domain is certainly a very disliked tool that all governments use, however it is necessary sometimes to protect the wishes of the majority of the people. The difficulty is to prevent the use to further the wishes of developers.
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Offline treecyclers

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2006, 10:23:34 AM »
Wally-World's success is due to people "voting" with their dollars.
Every time we make a purchase, we vote for a business to succeed or fail, depending on where we choose to spend our hard earned dollars.
WM's penchant for touting cheap goods at low prices is important to many, many people, hence their success across the board.
The eminent domain thing that the town executed will ultimately cost them not only money spent in legal defense (WM has VERY deep pockets), but also in lost tax revenue over many years.
That's a multi-million dollar decision that the town made, whether or not they realize it yet.
We had a similar situation here with WM.
WM wanted to locate a box store near downtown, to which the town denied them the permits. So, they went to the Indian Res and built there, (no permits needed from the city), and started raking in the bucks.
The city finally figured out that it was more profitable for them to bring WM off the res and into the city (They now have 2 locations with a 3rd in progress in the next town over), to which they add about 5M per year in tax revenue into the city coffers.
It's a double edged sword. Box stores are ugly, and they do kill Mom & Pop shops, but here, they have struck something of a balance, and everyone wins.
The Mom & Pop places sell things that you can't get at WM, and vice versa.
Most have figured out that they need a USP (Unique Selling Position) that draws the people to them over WM through differentiating themselves and their product mix, as well as top notch customer service.
Just because WM comes to town, doesn't necessarily mean that small shops can't compete.
Some figure it out, some don't. The ones that don't, tend to die.
Darwinism in business.....
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Offline crtreedude

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2006, 08:55:55 PM »
Well, the big boxes haven't killed custom sawing - did they? The way to compete against the monsters out there is nitches - you don't need to sell a million units to make it worth it - they do.

So, how did I end up here anyway?

Offline MemphisLogger

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2006, 09:42:16 AM »
We had a similar situation here with WM.
WM wanted to locate a box store near downtown, to which the town denied them the permits. So, they went to the Indian Res and built there, (no permits needed from the city), and started raking in the bucks.
The city finally figured out that it was more profitable for them to bring WM off the res and into the city (They now have 2 locations with a 3rd in progress in the next town over), to which they add about 5M per year in tax revenue into the city coffers.

I'm sad to hear that, treecycler, too bad they couldn't keep Wally World at bay  :-\

I grew up at 201 S. Vernon.  8)

When I was a kid, I had to ride my bike all the way out Miller Valley Rd. to the K Mart to get my bb guns, baseballs, etc.

I kinda liked how Prescott was small that way. I took my wife there a few years ago to see my old stomping grounds and hardly recognized the place--especially Prescott Valley.

I used to think about moving "home" someday, but know it doesn't exist  :'(   
Scott Banbury, Urban logger since 2002--Custom Woodworker since 1990. Running a Woodmizer LT-30, a flock of Huskies and a herd of Toy 4x4s Midtown Logging and Lumber Company at www.scottbanbury.com

Offline thedeeredude

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2006, 06:49:51 PM »
Walmart is nothing near a monopoly, they have competition.  If people are going to spend their money there, why not?  If this town didn't want a walmart there, rezone or do something, but to swoop in and take their land, NO.

Offline rebocardo

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2006, 03:05:28 PM »
I agree with thedeeredude, that is exactly how I feel about it.

I can only say from what I have seen in the Atlanta GA area, Walmart buys distressed, empty, vacant  property where there is nothing, then builds a store. Instead of doing something about the urban blight, people complain after someone else does.

17 acres is a decent size, I wonder what it was before Walmart got it?

Really, Walmart doesn't go around saying, "hey! Let us buy 50-100 $1 million dollar homes for a parking lot. ". They go where property is cheap and has constant car traffic. Same as Radio Shack and a host of other stores. A super center could not survive on walk in foot traffic.


Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2006, 03:58:33 PM »
I read a story on the location.  It is currently vacant land.  However, its waterfront property.  Walmart wanted to build one of those super stores with 100,000+ sq ft.  Town wants it no larger than 40,000.  Walmart counters with an 80,000 sq ft store.

Avg income in the town is pretty good and can support more upscale stores.  That is where the city decided that they had enough of Walmart and used the eminent domain.  Lawsuit is expected to follow.
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Offline treecyclers

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2006, 05:24:49 PM »
There are many facets to urban development and growth, some appealing, some not, but all that must be considered.
Would WM be a benefit to the community? What tax revenue would it bring? What would be the downside? Traffic snarls and pollution?
It's different for each community, and the people that live there.
Some areas are great for it, others really aren't suited for it, but the reality is pretty much the same.
WM provides low cost items that most people use daily, that directly and indirectly improve their quality of life, and WM has the buying power to buy things in such volume that even the manufacturers can't sell it to anyone else at that price.
A friend of mine works for Coke. According to their inside information, WM buys their products for about 15% LESS than ANY OTHER VENDOR.
Because they do the volume!
Was it right for the community to sieze the land?
Not by my way of thinking.
WM did business fair & square to the best of my knowledge.
There are many other tools available to the city to make it less than appealing to WM, like zoning, construction permits, rights of way, and the like.
Oh, and yes, Prescott is slowly losing it's own old school charm.
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Offline WeeksvilleWoodWorx

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2006, 09:10:24 AM »
From this article in our local fish wrap.

"The exact formula is proprietary," Stewart said. "But not one Supercenter has ever closed ever. So you can bet there was a lot of research behind the decision to build a Supercenter in Elizabeth City"

Sounds like the politicians are the ones that didn't want it, not the residents. :)

Brian - 2004 LT40HDG28 owner.

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2006, 11:52:23 AM »
Well in Canada they are a near monopoly in the department store field.  The only competition we have left is Zellers.  Kmart, Byway and the dozens of smaller local chains are all dead here replaced by Walmarts.


Walmart is nothing near a monopoly, they have competition.  If people are going to spend their money there, why not?  If this town didn't want a walmart there, rezone or do something, but to swoop in and take their land, NO.

Offline thedeeredude

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2006, 01:11:28 PM »
What is zellers? Is it a department store type?  Down here we got boscovs, sears, bon-ton, kmart, kohls and target.  Theyve got competition here certainly.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Eminent Domain - The other side
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2006, 02:57:47 PM »
And competition is the name of the game, if the local Gov't stays out of it. People choose to shop at Zellers, Kmart and the others. They also 'choose' to shop at Walmart. If Gov't rules Walmart out, then the people don't have their choice, but are 'forced' to shop at places that they don't want to shop.  Gov't interference rarely works.  Competition does.
Being jealous of Walmarts' success is not good, as I see it. 
south central Wisconsin
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