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A Walmart in Monroe? Readers Sound Off on Facebook

Walmart conjures up strong emotions, from admiration for it's success as the world's largest retailer to anger over the treatment of its employees. Many believe the big box store Kimball Land Holdings LLC is proposing for 2 Victoria Drive in Monroe — without releasing the name — is a Walmart.

Monroe Patch asked visitors to its Facebook page how they would feel about a Walmart coming to Monroe and the post garnered more than 35 responses, most with "likes" supporting it, and was viewed by 1,512 people.

Responses ranged from strong support to accusations of "wage slavery". To read all of them, visit the post on Monroe Patch's Facebook page.

The following are a few of the comments:

Sallie Des Biens: Terrible idea. I would hope the townspeople would vote against it.

Jane Card Horton: I welcome it! I love Walmart and we need the tax base. Our neighbors are growing their businesses and Monroe isn't. Why on earth would anyone vote against it? It's even on the edge of our town. Monroe needs to be progressive...we aren't a sleepy cow town anymore.

Kristen Edgar: Welcome!!

Marc Covey: Explain how Walmart would benefit our tax base. Wouldn't a more upscale retail store like an REI, Cabelas or Whole Foods rather than a cut rate, employee gouging company like Walmart? I can't think of a worse store to bring in. How will that help grow the business economy in Monroe? That is going to drive out every small box store and keep any local businesses from ever considering our town. So we will become just the next suburb of another Walmart. I'm not interested in selling our town to Walmart. And hopefully I'm not the only one.

Al Cascella: Say goodby to all small mom and pop stores and even Walgreens, cvs, rite aid and maybe even big y

Peter Conway: Walmart will end up hurting your tax base. Believe me, when the competition is gone the prices will go back up.

Carrie Bonin: Invite Walmart in and watch how many small local businesses get put out of business. Crap from China with proceeds going to headquarters in Arkansas, great way to grow Monroe.

Kristy McElveen: I love the idea of a Walmart coming to town. Why pay more for the SAME product at other stores or grocery stores? I don't have money to burn, sorry.

Lani M. Dingman Siciliano: I welcome a Walmart. Everyone keeps mentioning other specialty stores that do NOTHING to help us actually be able to 'shop local.' I can't buy the things my family actually NEEDS in town. A large growing family doesn't have money to burn.. especially with our taxes increasing every single year. Never mind that those specialty stores are NOT asking to come here. If Walmart doesn't open here, they will probably just move down the road to Trumbull who will welcome them, we will still have the traffic and get no benefit. I am doubtful that more than a few stores in town would close as a result either, since much of what Walmart offers is not available in town.
christine December 05, 2013 at 08:08 AM
How can you say "most with likes supporting it"? I see mostly people commenting and "liking" who do NOT support it. It's the same few handful of people posting and liking in favor, not the majority.
Robynne Wildman December 05, 2013 at 08:18 AM
And you should probably clarify that the post says "Please say NO to Walmart" and THAT is what people may be liking. Not liking Walmart coming to Monroe.
James Romaniello December 05, 2013 at 10:24 AM
https://www.facebook.com/standupformonroe
Paul Sobel December 05, 2013 at 01:04 PM
I'll post here instead of the facebook page. Walmart has apparently signed a purchase contract or lease with the owner of private property. The owner has applied to the planning and zoning commission for approval under the zoning regulations for construction of the building to be occupied by Walmart. Either the proposal complies with the zoning regulations or it does not. Zoning regulations are only concerned with the physical improvements sought to be made to a property and the manner of its use. They have nothing to do with the identity of any person or business that may own or rent property. If, for example, the zoning regulations allow the sale of groceries, it matters not whether they are to be sold by Walmart, Big Y, or anyone else. It also matters not that anyone may desire to open a new store in competition with any other. Who is anyone to say that the town or anyone else has an approval right over what person or business a private property owner can sell or rent to? For anyone to advocate that the first selectman should exert control the government does not have to prevent a private property owner from renting or selling to any particular person or business is wrong. Likewise, to advocate that the planning and zoning commission should violate the law in attempting to deny an approval to a property owner for the use of his, her or its property in a manner that fully complies with the law because some number of people do not like the person or business that may be buying or renting the property is wrong. Nick Kapoor, I notice that you posted on the facebook page. I am addressing you because of your leadership involvement in town government, because I think your remarks do not appreciate the role and limitations of government and elected officials, and because I don’t think it is a good thing to give people expectations based on the need for an elected official to act improperly to fulfill them. In view of the above, I ask that you consider posting again to retract your prior comments and recognize the proper and legal role of government.
Alex December 05, 2013 at 01:35 PM
I'm confused by Marc Covey's statement. If they are building a 150,000+ sqft building on vacant land, that will certainly increase the assessment of the property, no? Unless corporations pay property taxes differently in CT how does a vacant property produce more revenue than a building the size of a Wal-mart? I would understand the reluctance to have a Wal-mart in town if other corporations were also interested in the property, but that's not the case here. REI, Cabelas, or who-ever else you like is not showing interest in Monroe. But if we put in a property that attracts people to our town to shop... you may find those stores showing interest later on. I can't think of any area that has a Wal-mart and only a Wal-mart there. Milford, Danbury, Derby, Straford... they all have thriving business sections around their Wal-mart. Besides that, what businesses would close in Monroe from a Wal-mart (Honest question, please list some you think may be hurt by this)? If anything, I support having the Wal-mart in Monroe, because if we don't, you know it will show up in Trumbull or another bordering town.
Rick Strong December 05, 2013 at 01:41 PM
You go Paul !! Very deceptive of Kapoor taking the route he has, when he should know full well the parameters local government must work in. It is a tactic to make the First Selectman's office look bad. Political. All political.
Bill Bittar (Editor) December 05, 2013 at 02:11 PM
@Christine, I was saying most of the comment posts had likes support it, meaning the posts themselves whether pro or con. Just another way of expressing their feelings on the subject.
Robynne Wildman December 05, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Paul...towns have long told their residents what those same residents can do with their property. And those citizens have a right to collectively say NO or YES to a particular business. Some want to do with through voting, while others do it with their wallets. I haven't read any comment suggesting the first selectman or the zoning commission violate any law. Unless the post has already been deleted, I saw nothing wrong with Nick Kapoor's comment. He did not ask for anything from Vavrek, except for "I think it's time Mr. Vavrek stop talking out of both sides of his mouth and say what he means." So unless there was another comment or you can explain further - there is no reason for Mr. Kapoor to retract his comment.
Paul Sobel December 05, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Robynne Getting told what you can or cannot build on your property is entirely different than getting told who you can or cannot sell or rent it to. If I am in a residential zone that does not permit the use of my property for a grocery store, I cannot build a grocery store on my property. But but no town official or zoning body has any say over who I may choose to sell or rent my property to. Similarly, if I own a commercial property in a zone where a grocery store is permitted but a house is not, I cannot build a house on the property, only permitted commercial uses. But if I own a property in a commercial zone where a grocery store is permitted, as long as I comply with setback, coverage, height, etc. limitations, I can build a grocery store, and no town official or law can tell me that I cannot sell or rent the property to person or business that I choose. Neither can any town official or zoning body refuse me a permit to construct the grocery store unless and until I tell them the name of the business that will operate it, and neither can any town official or zoning body refuse me a permit to construct a grocery store because they do not "like" the operator.
Alex December 06, 2013 at 09:14 AM
I agree with Paul. And to his point, if we go and deny Wal-mart with no legal justification, then we're just opening us up to another lawsuit. I'm sure we can all agree we don't want that.
Joel Leneker December 10, 2013 at 07:37 AM
If Walmart moves into town part of that deal will be a 10-15 year tax abatement. So no taxes for Monroe for years, this is exactly what happened in Stratford. Be certain that Walmart is out for Walmart and not the communities they reside.
Marc December 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM
@Alex What I mean is a Wal-mart will not benefit our tax base in the long run. Yes, if you take an empty lot and place any business on it, the taxes on that property will increase. I don't think there is anyone that will dispute that. But when you place a business like Wal-mart they have a history eliminating local competition and placing them out of business, the tax base will degrade. Then then will fight the town for tax reassessment on their own property year after year, therefore reducing taxes due. Wal-mart 101. And in light of Joel's news, which I didn't even know about, they will have 10-15 years free to degrade local business and save themselves a king’s ransom in taxes by the time they are liable. Just do a little research on the impact of a local economy after Wal-mart comes into town. As far as the businesses "I like" as you put it. I don’t have a single preference on what goes in there as far as my shopping goes. I was simply offering some examples of what type of business Monroe should be interested in. If Monroe is trying to attract outside shoppers to come into our town and shop, then a Wal-mart is the WORST business to do so. It will simply draw those looking for the cheapest deal (which they will only find at Wal-mart) and then they will split. I think that some other business with high end products would entice those shoppers that are looking to spend money, not save it. Then these shoppers could even be spending money in other locations in town as well. Doesn’t it make more sense to try and bring in spenders rather than savers? THAT would encourage all types of business to come into Monroe, both big and small. Also, I am not saying that Wal-mart will be a standing alone in Monroe after all businesses are eliminated. I am sure they will be attracting some other fine big box stores, like Big Lots, Dollar Tree! Those locations you described are an exact testament to my point. There isn’t a single local shop around them. And just off the top of my head, the businesses that are going to be directly threatened by this are: Pools Plus (run by a very nice family, kiss them goodbye), Cycle Fitness will be impacted, all pharmacies, card shops and toy shops are going to be in trouble, all the auto parts stores, and Benedicts will be taking yet another hit and have to face both Wal-mart and Home Depot. So those nice holiday family outings they have will be replaced with walks through the lovely Wal-mart parking lot. Enjoy that 30 cent savings on your Pop-Tarts!
Marc December 10, 2013 at 12:01 PM
And if they end up going to a neighboring town, then mission accomplished. It won't be our town they decimate.
Robynne Wildman December 10, 2013 at 02:12 PM
I understand what you were saying better now Paul, thanks for the response. :)
Alex December 13, 2013 at 11:08 AM
@Joel Walmart in Stratford most certainly pays property taxes. Got a source that says otherwise? The tax abatement they received still made their taxes more than what was originally listed for the (vacant)property and the deal was only for 5 years which Stratford offered to Walmart in an effort to get them to decide to build there (and Stratford could offer that to any business, not just Walmart). That is not the case here, Walmart is coming to us, the town isn't asking Walmart to build here. The town should ask Stratford how much tax revenue they now get from that Walmart plaza. I wouldn't be surprised if its above 500K/year in taxes. @Marc thanks for the reply, I'll need to explain my view later though.
Joel Leneker December 13, 2013 at 04:11 PM
@ Alex: First of all I never said Walmart did not pay taxes to the Town of Stratford, I did say they received a tax abatement and originally wanted 10 years and according to you only got 5 yrs. I don't care what the other tenants in the Stratford Walmart Plaza tenants are paying. I am just saying that people need to look at the entire package that MAY be proposed. Monroe is desperate for any kind of commerce, as are many other communities. One Walmart is not going to reduce property taxes by much, to do that we need much more commerce, fewer children in a school system, consolidate schools, reduce administrators and even then it might not move the tax needle much.
Joe Mancini December 13, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Paul Sobel-I recall a few years ago, another huge corporation, Walgreens, leased property in the Stratfield section of Fairfield, the previous IGA Market. The local residents fought and eventually won, thus preventing Walgreens from occupying the property. It still sits vacant. How does that compare to this situation?
Paul Sobel December 13, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Joe, it does not compare. There were a number of technical issues as well as different zoning regulations. The neighbors there must have had a good law firm and outlasted Walgreens.
Joe Mancini December 14, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Paul-That is exactly my point. The people of the Stratfield community recognized how harmful a potential tenant like Walgreens could be to the neighborhood and fought tooth and nail. And I highly doubt they were able to outlast a huge corp like Walgreens, they just believed in what they were doing. People of Monroe need to band together if this is truly what they believe in or alas, it's a done deal.
Paul Sobel December 14, 2013 at 09:53 AM
Joe, you are missing my point. The issues with Walgreens were different. Believe it or not, Walgreens just didn't want to continue to pursue it after a while.
Gerald M. Gaynor December 17, 2013 at 07:26 AM
"Monroe Patch asked visitors to its Facebook page how they would feel about a Walmart coming to Monroe and the post garnered more than 35 responses, most with "likes" supporting it, and was viewed by 1,512 people." I guess the rabidly anti Wal-Mart folks believe that dismissing the facts is the best game plan for their agenda...
Joe Mancini December 17, 2013 at 09:00 AM
I do believe I have had a rather large slice of humble pie. I have been recently patronizing the Shelton Walmart. My first few times I was a bit uncomfortable. But I have gone a few more times recently and I am beginning to embrace the culture. The prices are very good, the selections very good, the ambiance, eh, not so good, but not horrible. I think Monroe may actually be a good place for a Walmart.

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