Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bell Tolling for Monsey Wal-Mart?

After months of no communication it now appears that the Town of Ramapo has lost patience with the developer of a proposed Wal-Mart on Route 50 in Monsey. As the Journal News reports: " The town was notifying the developers of a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter yesterday that its plans for a Monsey store were considered to be abandoned.
That was the tack of Alan Simon, director of planning and zoning administration, who said the developer owed Ramapo about $25,000 for municipal fees. "I just sent them a letter today," Simon said. "If they want to continue the plan, they have to pay the $25,000."

The Town had requested more environmental and traffic data after the Alliance had its engineer, Brian Ketcham, thoroughly slice and dice the original submissions. Now after almost a year of hibernation it looks as if National Reality is in a "No Mas" mode. "Richard Lipsky, spokesman for Neighborhood Retail Alliance, viewed the company's lack of action as a potential victory for local businesses."

As we told the paper: "It's certainly unusual for a developer not to respond expeditiously to a request by a planning board," Lipsky said. "The time that has elapsed seems to indicate that the developer can't figure out how to meet the town's needs, or has lost interest." The inability of the developer to respond properly can be directly attributed to the fact that the Rout 59 site is not appropriate for such a large super center.

In addition, the reluctance of the developer to respond can also be attributed to the fact that the Alliance, with the support of Local 1262 of the UFCW and the overwhelming opposition of the Orthodox community in Monsey, made political support for the project problematic-a fact that was underscored by the public opposition to the project by Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence in last November's election campaign; a campaign that St. Lawrence won due in large part to the monolithic support from Monsey's Jewish community. After all, when was the last time anti Walmonster ads were put out in Yiddish?

So now its put up or shut up for the Walmonster, and if it doesn't move ahead as we hope and expect, than another blow for small business and labor has been effectively struck by the Alliance and its allies: "Monsey area shop owners sought the alliance's representation more than two years ago when the plan was unveiled for the site of a former drive-in theater off Route 59.
The alliance has lobbied for small businesses in New York City for more than 20 years. It successfully fought against a Wal-Mart proposed in Staten Island in 2005."

If things work out, this should be a great day for small business and labor in Rockland County and the entire Metropolitan region. Let's stay tuned here, but still we need to give shout outs to all involved for the great effort so far.