Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Information Session Set for Monsey Wal-Mart

As the Rockland Journal News is reporting today, there will be an information session on the proposed Monsey Wal-Mart for next Thursday at Spring Valley Village Hall beginning at 7:30 in the evening. The meeting, sponsored by the Alliance and Legislator Ellen Jaffee, will focus on "The High Cost of Low Prices," and get into the economic and social costs that are not always apparent to the bargain hunters.

As the paper informs this morning, the Town of Ramapo has mandated a full environmental and economic impact analysis from the developer and it is expected that all of the required documentation will be submitted to the Town in the next few weeks. In what has to be described as a fatuous statement Jerrold Berlingham, managing director of National Realty who is developing the site , told the News, "We're pleased with the results of the studies we're doing...The business of the shopping center is to have anchor tenants that support smaller business."

If true, than we'd have to assume that the developer has decided not to put Wal-Mart into the site. After all, no box retailer does a better job at eliminating smaller competitors than the Walmonster. Berlingham's pleasure at the results of the data that his company commissioned, comically underscores our point about the poor methodology in this kind of land use issue- where the folks with the vested interest are assigned to generate the information for the Town to evaluate.

National Realty will have its own informational meeting in early November where it will unveil the results of its studies. As Berlingham remarks, with no apparent irony, "I find it difficult to have a meeting without any of these studies." Which is precisely why Legislator Jaffee has written the State DOT to request that they monitor any data submitted to Ramapo. Wal-Mart-driven stats are simply unreliable lowballing and there is a pressing need for an impartial evaluation.