The two legislative hearings on Wal-Mart's proposed supercenter went off well last night in New City. All of the legislators appeared to be concerned that the Ramapo development was not being adequately examined. This was a point that Legislators Fried and Jaffee, opponents in the upcoming Democratic Assembly primary both agreed with.
In addition, there was a concern that the project would transcend the Ramapo catchment area and impinge on contiguous localities that will have no say about the project since the Ramapo Planning Board is the lead agency with exclusive purview over the development. Legislator Jaffee told the hearing that she was going to see if she could get the Rockland County planners and traffic experts involved so that there could be a more independent evaluation of Wal-Mart's impact.
What the unusual hearings indicated to us is that the issue of Wal-Mart is bigger than any narrowly conceived land use review. The Walmonster is a hot button political issue as today's NY Times underscores in its focus on the 2008 presidential campaign. What we plan to do is to politicize this Monsey site fight as much as possible so that the reticent supervisor of Ramapo gets the message.