Guest Editorial by Carole Perry
A myth that just won’t die!

October 28, 2009

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Carole PerryThere is a myth being perpetuated by the folks opposed to Propositions 400 and 401 that just won’t die. And if we voters fall for it, we could be lost.

Despite knowing it is completely impossible, they still tell us Walmart needs to move 4 miles west of their planned location on Cave Creek Rd (south of Carefree Hwy), onto 240 acres of state land on Carefree Hwy (near 24th St.). They further insist that Cave Creek officials just need to tell Walmart to do this and it will be so.

Here are the major reasons this is not possible:

1. Walmart owns the land on Cave Creek Rd. and the State Land Department owns the land out on Carefree Hwy. So for Cave Creek officials to tell Walmart they must move their store is the equivalent of Cave Creek telling you that you cannot build your home on land you bought, but instead must build it on someone else’s property. And, incidentally, there is no one employed or assigned by Cave Creek who has a job description that would include such an outrageous (and illegal) act.

2. The State Land Dept. intends to lease that land (which is actually 120 acres of general commercial and 120 acres of commercial buffer) as a single parcel to one major developer in order to achieve the highest monetary return, which they are required by law to do. It is also years (5-10) away from being considered for this as the State Land Dept. realizes there is no infrastructure in place – or even nearby – to support that property. They are also currently inundated with prime developable parcels all over the valley that were previously acquired by developers, and which are now in default, (including 5 in the Desert Ridge area).

3. Walmart purchased the exact 20.5 acres they need to build a 128,000 sq. ft. store (smaller than Lowe’s!), at the prime location to service a demographically sound customer base, in a fully recognizable commercial corridor, surrounded by commercial properties and businesses. And how audacious is it for anyone to tell Walmart to ignore the advice of their highly skilled experts who are paid very well to determine the exact best location for Walmart to achieve maximum return. Walmart’s position, that the Carefree Hwy location is NOT for sale, 12 times too big for their needs, too far away from the neighborhoods they intend to serve, and just too close to their Anthem store and Deer Valley store, can’t be ignored just because half a dozen people don’t want it on Cave Creek Rd.

4. The biggest reason is this. Walmart is going to go where Walmart needs to go to be successful. They chose their current site carefully. If we turn them down, they will go as close to that site as possible, which would most certainly be on 20 acres a few hundred feet from that location, on Cave Creek Road, but within the county with promises from Phoenix to annex the parcel. It is an absolute certainty that it will not be 4 miles away on a barren stretch of unavailable land on Carefree Hwy. And instead of a beautiful and discreet building with Cave Creek’s height and lighting restriction – well, remember Home Depot?

Finally, if you don’t already believe their current property is suitable because it is now zoned desert rural; please drive down Cave Creek Rd. and see for yourself. Phoenix is building both a new fire station and a new police station just south of the property. The YMCA and Paradise Valley Community College sit just east of the property. The property on Walmart’s northern boundary is already zoned commercial. The Chevron station, CVS Pharmacy and Lowe’s are in plain sight to the west and northwest. Every one of these properties was zoned desert rural before they were rezoned commercial to accommodate the businesses there today.

Walmart has chosen the 20.5 acres in Cave Creek, south of Carefree Hwy., because it is the best possible location for their success. We should choose to support that decision with a “yes” vote on Propositions 400 and 401, because it is the only location that puts Walmart, and it’s considerable sales tax revenue, in Cave Creek, making it the only possible location for our success.