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,