Bring on the Wal-Mart!

No matter where Wal-Mart attempts to go, NIMBY’s are sure to be found. Hamburg is no different. According to The Sun a group of 18 whopping people showed up at the Hamburg Planning Board meeting to protest Wal-Mart’s move to the ghost town known as Brierwood Plaza. The group cited several thinly veiled NIMBYistic concerns, all of which can be easily disputed.

“Hamburg First’s core message is that the 205,000 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter isn’t a good fit for the plaza at the corner of Southwestern Boulevard and Rogers Road. The surrounding area is zoned primarily residential, and a better use for the property is a mix of retail, office and small commercial establishments, much like Snyder Square in Amherst.”

Brierwood Plaza already has largest commercial zoning designation that Hamburg has, and the existing plaza is already 152,000 sq ft. Commercial areas are generally surrounded by residential areas. The plaza has tried to be a mix of retail and small commercial establishments in the past, and it has simply disintigrated. We can either continue to let it rot, or we can let Wal-Mart completely revitalize it. They’ve even agreed to step up the architecture a bit and match it to the nearby Brierwood Country Club. (I know, the architecture purists are chortling out there, but we are talking about a suburban Wal-Mart here.)

“We are concerned that the current Wal-Mart at Seven Corners will be vacant, and we feel the Supercenter will result in the smaller Tops at that same intersection closing. There are far too many vacant retail storefronts in Hamburg at this time.”

Seven Corners is one of the most prominent intersections in the town, and highly unlikely that it would sit vacant for very long. Near McKinley Mall, Media Play’s location was quickly filled by FYE, and Oak Expression’s store with a new Dollar Tree. Additions were added to the mall to accomodate Bed Bath & Beyond and Best Buy, which will be opening later this year. Tops has been itching in the past to move out of it’s current smaller store at that intersection. Without Wal-Mart being on the same corner, it may have an increase in business, and even possibly take the opportunity to move into the larger space where Wal-Mart currently sits.

Hamburg First identified seven major concerns they have with the Wal-Mart supercenter. They believe the project would adversely affect the surrounding environment, increase crime, negatively impact local small businesses and reduce property values in the area, among other things.

The surrounding environment isn’t impacted by a deteriorating shell of a plaza? An active business replacing vacant buildings will cause an increase in crime? *coughNIMBYcough* But really, no NIMBY group can be complete without citing…

The No. 1 concern, however, is traffic. Elardo said his research has indicated that tens of thousands of cars will drive by there each day, straining two-lane residential streets such as Amsdell, Cloverbank and Rogers, not to mention how much worse traffic will be on Southwestern Boulevard.

Southwestern Boulevard! How ever will Southwestern Boulevard be able to handle an increase in traffic? Next thing you know, they’ll want to build one of these things on Transit Road in the middle of Lancaster! Surely, nobody living in the vicinity of Southwestern Boulevard would have ever expected there to be TRAFFIC there?

It’s sad, but it’s a page straight out of the NIMBY handbook. The only thing they left out was some mention of concern about asbestos or dust or rat poop from the demolition of the existing skeleton. The group calls itself “Hamburg First” but it’s really Hamburg Second, Me First. The scent of BANANAS is in the air.

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  1. All too often it is the vocal minority that the politicians side with, hopefully this will not be one of those cases.

    Whether you like Wal-Mart or not, people shop there and will continue to shop there.

  2. How will Southwestern Boulevard handle all that traffic? I have no idea!! Maybe they ought to rebuild it with 2 lanes each way, drop offs, and center turning lanes. Oh wait…maybe that’s why the road has been ripped up the last two summers. Sheesh, folks, get a grip. NIMBY’s abound!

    And whatever jackass is about to make the point that I can’t have an opinion because I won’t be affected – shut your NIMBY-hole. I live around a mile away, and I’m OK with it.

  3. South Shore Plaza N/K/A Brierwood Square has been a turd even before Loblaws, Hens & Kellys, Big N, K-Mart, and even Carvel and the little “Head Shop” baled out of there. Just about anything there would be an improvement.

    I think some of the locals are concerned about the traffic management, and rightly so. Also from the sound of what Wal Mart has described, the locals are also concerned about a super-ridiculous, giant, friggin building that will blot out the sun.

    Maybe they’ll finally pave that crummy parking lot too.

  4. I think Wal-Mart should look at all the towns/villages/cities that have tried to stop them from coming in and take a look at their building design. If they have a huge sign in front that says ‘Wal-Mart’ then why do the buildings need to be so huge and ugly? Why couldn’t they make them fit into the design of that town? For example, East Aurora is all Frank Lloyd Wright style, so why couldn’t Wal-Mart adapt that theme and make it fit into the scenery? Wouldn’t that make everyone happy? I mean, who doesn’t want to shop at Wal-Mart? You know those people who oppose it are coming to the one on 7 Corners for their deals! 🙂

    All I’m saying, is maybe that is part of the problem, not the fix-all solution.

  5. East Aurora will never have one no matter what. Viddler’s is the reason. If Wal-Mart comes in, Viddler’s would close, no mater what the outside looks like.

  6. That’s true, and that is one of those stores you WANT to stay open. It’s different and has a history. I can completely understand why people in EA made a fuss, that town is very quaint and beautiful and should stay that way. But Hamburg? I don’t have a problem with them coming here. Not that I’d be sad if they didn’t, either.

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