NO MILL BRANCH WALMART!
PRINCE GEORGE’S DISTRICT COUNCIL
VOTED IN JUNE 2015 TO APPROVE A NEW BOWIE WALMART
ON A NARROW COUNTRY ROAD SURROUNDED BY WORKING FARMS
We Deserve Better!!!
And so do you– let your voice be heard and Sign the Petition!
The County Appellate Body (The District Council) approved this shocking and unjust application. A sad betrayal of the citizens and constituents near this site who participated in an earlier zoning hearing that concluded that the Bowie Walmart application failed on nearly every front –to meet any of the specific legal criteria for a special exception. On appeal to the District Council, Wal-Mart lawyers disingenuously tried to shift the burden of proof for their application back onto the local citizens. Their theory being that citizens had failed to produce meritorious arguments against the Walmart—even while Walmart had simply failed to show how its application met the lawful criteria for a special exception! Since when is the burden on citizens to rebut an unwanted, illegal and problematic development in their midst? Isn’t that what their elected officials and government should be doing—as opposed to upholding the local codes and enforcing the laws?
Then through whatever political maneuvering or “David Copperfield” style illusions plus the arcane (but unacknowledged) doctrine of council-manic courtesy (Councilmembers defer to the cognizant Councilmember when voting on a project in their colleague’s Council district). County Elected officials have ignored the express issues before them on appeal (master plan conflicts, traffic issues, community character problems etc) and instead deferred to special interests and insider politics.
It is a decision that if left unchallenged will doom the farming neighbors to a grotesque alteration of the rural character that they rely on to grow their crops, lead peaceful, rural lives and maintain their quality of life. It will subject numerous people in cars to traffic hazards and safety risks that are well known to the applicant who is of course indifferent to any of those things. Residents who recently bought homes in the large home sub-division across the street barely had a say in the matter as they were not told and could not participate in the District Council proceeding because many were not parties of record to the earlier decision. Indeed several had not yet bought their homes at the time the matter was heard by the Zoning Hearing Examiner. The decision contravenes regional planning documents, zoning laws and good common sense. One of the world’s most reprehensible and yet wealthiest corporations has somehow gained undue traction in our County with its well established bad community practices, environmentally questionable practices and an anti-fair trade business model that champions the local high cost of low cost merchandise for its own corporate gain. IT WILL NOT STAND.
This latest, approval is an exercise of excess, bad governance, greed, and insider politics that must be challenged in order protect small farmers, democracy, the Patuxent River and the integrity of the overall planning and political process. You can help Patuxent Riverkeeper and others level the playing field by contributing financially to this cause and by making your dissatisfied voice heard loud and clear by your County elected official in the meantime. Your donations of any amount, will help pay for legal expenses, copying costs, signs, community outreach, internet hosting and the other hefty direct expenses for taking this grassroots fight to the next stage, in the Prince George’s Circuit Court.
You can donate online to keep Walmart off of Mill Branch Road by going to the Patuxent Riverkeeper web site and please be sure to note “No Walmart” in the description field so we will know which of our causes the donation is for: http://paxriverkeeper.org/product/donate/
.A walmart here is a bad idea because:
- The Bowie and Vicinity Master Plan specifically says “no big box” on this site – and yet a big box is what is proposed. We don’t need more discount stores – we need the high quality retail we deserve!
- There is already a WalMart in the Collington Plaza shopping center and that store should be upgraded instead.(Existing shopping centers will continue to fail if we don’t invest in what already exists.)
- The proposed WalMart has no proper access for traffic and the amount of traffic proposed compounds problems in a failing roadway network.(When finished US 301 will be 11 lanes wide in front of the WalMart – that’s more than most sections of the Beltway! The added traffic on Mill Branch Road will be a high-risk for local farmers that need to travel that road with their equipment to farm. )
- The proposed Wal-Mart is not compatible with the transition to the rural / residential tier and the Mill Branch Road Community.
Will the Giant at Collington Plaza survive? Probably not.