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Letter: 'A Wal-Mart is Not an Answer for Monroe'

To the Editor:

The Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission has before it an application for a 164,000 square foot building to be constructed on Victoria Drive in Monroe. It has been widely speculated that this big box store will be Wal-Mart. There are a lot of questions to be answered about this supposed “great thing that will happen to Monroe:”

1. Is it a good idea for existing D-I, D-3 Industrial zones be permitted to develop retail uses?

2. What is the plan for developing the other properties on Victoria Drive and the former Vishay property? Will this big box store lead to other developments on the site or is it just the big box store as an anchor store with a strip around it? If so, are there tenants lined up or will it be another vacant retail space in Monroe? Why don’t we fill the ones that we already have open?

3. Should Monroe amend its P&Z regulations and adopt a maximum size for retail store buildings to eliminate the possibility of big box stores or at least a cap on what can be considered?

4. Will the amount of Wal-Mart taxes paid be a net gain or loss to the town?  What type of tax abatement would Wal-Mart be looking for? With this new property in our town, what would be the impact on fire, police and EMS responsibilities? Will this big box store be a net cost to the taxpayers?

5. What is the realistic impact on traffic on 25 during peak hours? The applicant said it would negligible.  I find that very hard to believe. Is the State being talked to with regards to widening 25 up to that point? We know how Trumbull feels about that section of 25 when they spoke in front of the P&Z and it wasn’t too favorable.

6. Is it reasonable to expect that Wal-Mart employees or customers will support Monroe businesses or will Wal-Mart make Monroe a “pass through” town?  How will the small, local businesses of Monroe be truly affected with this big box store coming in?  Is there any quantitative data on the net impact to taxpayers, small businesses and small business owners, and geographical impacts (including traffic, additional wear on the roads, and town assets that will need to be used to make this project a reality)?

What is the First Selectman thinking?  Monroe does not need a Wal-Mart.  Monroe needs proper, logical and sound economic development – a Wal-Mart is not it.  Who is really making out in this deal?  Is it the taxpayers? I don’t know.  Nothing has been presented as to how this Wal-Mart fits into the long-term plan for Monroe. How will this building and the traffic it attracts affect our town in 5 years? 10 years? 25 years?

We cannot continue to be short sighted in this town. We cannot look for a quick tax break without long term planning for the future. A Wal-Mart is not an answer for Monroe.

A Very Concerned Citizen,

Nicholas Kapoor

Jacob's Mama December 16, 2013 at 02:11 PM
This topic is getting boring. Let's face it. If Walmart wants to open in Monroe, it's going to open in Monroe. Maybe it's because I was born in a city and not a town, but I can't believe the kind of power and entitlement people in a town think they have in decisions such as businesses opening up. The town people didn't mind it when there was a sex shop on rt 25....let it go.
QWERTY December 16, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Terrible letter. Nic asks a dozen unanswered questions and then states a Wal-Mart is NOT the answer.
Mike Patrick December 16, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Is there anyone who really believes that the dollars that are going to spent at Wal-Mart in Monroe are going to come out of small local businesses? There are already Wal-Mart / Target Stores in Shelton and Trumbull. The citizens of Monroe who are headed to one of those stores will probably go to the in town store with THOSE dollars, but the simple truth is the small business --> box store dollar transfer already happened.
Leo Getz December 16, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Kapoor is clearly not the answer for our town either. So tired of the bashing without offering an answer or solution, he's a complete joke.
christine December 16, 2013 at 04:36 PM
If the letter had been signed John Doe people wouldn't make such a fuss over it, instead it's the same tired old opportunity for people to bash those without an R next to their names. Let's face it, there is no justifiable reason for Walmart. Only those who do not care about their property values and quality of life will want a Walmart in this town.
I Live Here Too December 16, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Jacob's mama- Last I checked WE - the citizens of Monroe pay the taxes and elect the officials - which means we have the power and should be heard and the people we elect should have the answers to these questions and more. This should not be a knee jerk reaction to the need for tax relief. None of this information has been presented to us by our elected officials and it should be. We need to make sure this the right fit for our town. Heck, we can't get Mr. "I want an open and transparent government" Vavrek or the P&Z to disclose who the tenant is What does that tell you??? It tells you that they know the majority of the town's people don't want this store here. If it isn't a big deal then answer the questions and tell us what your plan is...Oh, that's right, they have none....As for the Sex shop - UH, YEAH they did...and it's gone if I recall....
Leo Getz December 16, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Christine, its funny to draw the R card when Kapoor was elected to and given a chance in Town Council, that he blew, because he wasted his time bashing the Rs and did absolutely nothing of substance. He is a complete joke of a politician, I don't care what letter is next to his name. And lastly, since I am not an R and voted D in the last election except for Kapoor, let's agree to call my bashing of Kapoor unbiased from a political party standpoint please.
Leo Getz December 16, 2013 at 06:36 PM
This is not an issue of zoning or road widening, or vacant properties, or what the FS thinks. This is about people not liking the particular tenant. If you choose to play a dirty political zoning game to discriminate against WalMart, that is fine, but call it what it is. Let's not pretend that we would turn down a Trader Joe's for any of the reason's Kapoor stated above.
Nick Kapoor December 16, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Leo, I am sad to hear you thought I did nothing when I was on the Town Council. I like to think I made a little bit of change and brought up some issues that haven't been discussed in a long time. Something I plan to do from the audience now - I hope to see you at Town Council meetings to challenge me. I love constructive debate and seeing many sides of the issue as that is what our country was founded on. As for Wal-Mart. It is not the answer. To comment on some of the comments above, my solution would be PROPER economic development which specifically means filling some of the commercial vacancies that we have now with small to medium sized businesses to help grow our commercial tax base. Also, hire an Economic Development Coordinator either part or full time whose sole responsibility is to pound the pavement to attract these businesses to our Town and to make Monroe a more attractive town to live in with more amenities and options for consumption. As for "Republican bashing" - I don't believe I "bash" Republicans. I have a particular point-of-view that I offer and most of the time it is in disagreeance with the opinion of members of the Republican Party - I don't think that qualifies as bashing. I understand and accept that I lost the election - but that doesn't mean I've lost my voice nor more importantly lost my commitment and drive to make Monroe the best Monroe it can be. If you don't like my opinions or my letters - don't read them. Or better yet, write one yourself.
Alex December 16, 2013 at 09:18 PM
@Christine - I actually like Mr. Kapoor but I have to disagree with him on this issue. Not everyone is partisan about the issues tho I understand where you are coming from. @I Live Here Too - You think it's the town holding back the disclosure of the potential business? If you ever do business with Wal-Mart they almost always make you sign non-disclosures so I doubt that it's Varvek's choice in the matter. In my opinion it would be very foolish to enact a zoning change just to prevent a business from entering into the town. If we were to decide to change that again down the road to allow a larger retailer in that more people like then we would be opening us up to a lawsuit.
Jacob's Mama December 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM
@I live here too...how long was the sex shop open before it shut down? And it went out of business just like every other small business around town. What does electing the officials have anything to do with saying what business should be allowed in town? Doesn't every city/town in AMERICA elect their officials? Where is all the hoopla about the marijuana facility opening up in town? That's ok though...because it's not a walmart. Get over it. If it bothers so much than move.
Jacob's Mama December 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM
@Leo Getz I agree...if this was a trader joe's or hawley lane situation everyone would welcome it with open arms. The traffic, plumbing, and noise would not even be an issue. It's because it's a walmart. Which honestly, I still don't understand. Have any of these complainers walked into a walmart recently? It's not dangerous or scary. I work in Shelton and go to walmart once a week. Last week, there were a dozen people I saw shopping there that were from my office. And we are all corporate professionals. What are people afraid of???? These same people whining will be the same ones shopping there. Guarantee it.
I Live Here Too December 19, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Jacob's Mama - Really? A MEDICINAL marijuana processing plant...With security...NO SALES TO THE PUBLIC..No different than the pharmaceutical company that's opening on Main St. near Tollgate plaza that will work with controlled substances...Yet not a peep. POT will be legal before too long. Then what will you do? I have an idea! MOVE!!! In fact why don't YOU move closer to Walmart?!? Stratford has one with lovely clientele! I clearly stated that we elect the officials and have a right to be heard. I didn't say we had the right to dictate what businesses are brought into this town - HOWEVER - with a project of this magnitude there should be complete disclosure to the public and public opinion should be heard, taken into consideration and weigh heavily in the decision making process. Just as the public opinion helped to force the withdrawal of the rock crushing/recycling plant that was nearly brought to town through the back door....If you disagree with that then just give up all of your rights & follow the rest of the sheeple...baaaaa...
I Live Here Too December 19, 2013 at 10:39 AM
And people thinking Trader Joes or Whole Foods will come here are delusional...People already complain that Stop n Shop is expensive! No more expensive than anyone else....They'd have complete sticker shock in Whole Foods...

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