Wal-Mart: For the past three televised Town Meetings, three Worksessions and one public special meeting, the Mayor and Council have been dealing with the issue of a proposed 142,000 square foot Wal-Mart store at the Capital Plaza Mall. The Nellis Corporation, the owner of the shopping Center, has signed a long-term lease with Wal-Mart, and expects that, with this anchor store committed to the pro-ject, redevelopment of the entire site will now be possible. Other than normal building permits required for any construction project, Wal-Mart does not need any special exception to build a facility at this lo-cation.
There is unanimity on the Council, and I believe in the Cheverly Community, for redevelopment of the Capital Plaza Mall. Wal-Mart is another matter however. At the Town meetings, there have been several groups and many individuals who oppose any Wal-Mart in our community because of some of their labor and business practices. There have also been many individuals who have approached Council in support of a Wal-Mart at Capital Plaza.
Below is A PROPOSED resolution, which was introduced by a 4-2 vote at the June Worksession just before this newsletter went to press. This resolution is based on several concessions or agreements that Wal-Mart representatives have made verbally to Council at our Town meetings such as no firearms or liquor sold at this location, suf-ficient security and lighting in the parking lots, etc. The resolution also includes issues that have been discussed with but not yet agreed to by Wal-Mart, that are equally important such as consulting with the Town on the exterior design features of the facility, giving priority to local, qualified applicants in hiring, to name a few. Council feels that we need these agreements in writing before any resolution in support of the Wal-Mart could be considered. The resolution also deals with
community standards issues such as livable wages and affordable health benefits that are important to our community.
Again, this is a DRAFT resolution that will be discussed and voted on at the July Town Meeting.
DRAFT RESOLUTION R-04-05 OF THE MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL OF CHEVERLY, MARYLAND
WHEREAS, the Town of Cheverly has consis-tently supported efforts for improved economic devel-opment in our broader community including commit-ting the Town’s own resources to reverse decline and support economic revitalization; and
WHEREAS, truly vibrant communities require not only appropriate shopping and other amenities but also local employment opportunities for commu-nity residents that pay livable wages and affordable health benefits; and
WHEREAS, the security and long-term economic success of Cheverly and her neighboring communities are directly linked to the success of Capital Plaza and the retail establishments therein; and
WHEREAS, Capital Plaza Shopping Center has the potential to be a thriving commercial retail center for the entire region surrounding Cheverly; and
WHEREAS, the owners of Capital Plaza have worked diligently for years to find a large retail ten-ant and have recently secured a lease from Wal-Mart for a large store there; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed that no fire-arms and ammunition of any kind, including hunting rifles and ammunition, will be sold at the Capital Plaza facility; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed that no alco-holic beverages will be sold at the Capital Plaza fa-cility; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed that the Capi-tal Plaza store will not operate its business for more than 19 out of 24 hours each day; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed, as allowed by law, to give local, qualified residents priority in hir-ing; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart previously agreed with County officials and others that in order to protect ex-isting food service jobs, the Capital Plaza store will not have a grocery store component; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed to consult with the Town as to the exterior design features of the Capital Plaza store and has committed to construct-ing a facility that will improve and enhance the com-munity; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed to work with the Nellis Corporation to help bring quality dining establishments to the revitalized Capital Plaza Shop-ping Center; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart has agreed to provide suf-ficient parking lot lighting and security as well as long-term daily external maintenance of the Capital Plaza facility as well as quality space for ongoing civic uses, such as meeting space for community groups; and
WHEREAS, Wal-Mart must and will be in full compliance with all laws and rights as it relates to union organizing and representation.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Cheverly, Maryland in regular session assembled that the Mayor and Council, but only according to the above provisions, welcome and support the construction and operation of a Wal-Mart store at Capital Plaza Shop-ping Center; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council call upon the County Executive and the County Council to enact legislative safeguards to pre-vent lease agreements or similar measures that allow retail properties to remain vacant for extended peri-ods of time in order to stymie competition at the ex-pense of the local community; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council call upon elected State and County officials to protect the community by requiring that any publicly-provided subsidies, set-asides or tax benefits to Wal-Mart and other big box retailers be fully and publicly justified, and to assess appropriate penalties in the event of early abandonment; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council call upon the County Executive, County Council and our elected State representatives to take whatever actions are deemed appropriate to effect all the improvements in the County that community standards will bring including, but not limited to, legislation that would ensure livable wages and affordable healthcare benefits for retail and all workers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall take effect immediately; and that the Town Administrator will forward copies of this resolution to Cheverly’s representatives in the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, the Senate of Maryland, the Maryland House of Delegates, the Office of the Prince George’s County Executive, and the Prince George’s County Council and to relevant officials in all neighboring communities and their organizations.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution shall take effect immediately.
INTRODUCED by the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Cheverly, Maryland, at a Regular Meeting on June 23, 2005, at which meeting copies were available to the public for inspection.