The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

Well, it's not a done deal. A wave of community anger has forced the developer to put the plan on hold and start making backup contingencies. Tonight, the Austin City Council held a public hearing on the matter.

That is where the doomsday device was unveiled.

Councilmember Brewster McCracken asked if they couldn't stop the construction, could the city use its police power to pass a law to protect the neighborhood from all the after-hours noise and disturbance that a 24-hour super-store in a residential neighborhood would bring?

City legal staff indicated that, properly crafted, the city could place limits on a store, even one already built.

Then Councilmember Jennifer Kim asked if it would be possible for the city to enact such restrictions citywide—not just in this one neighborhood but anywhere there was a 24-hour super-store near a residential neighborhood.

Again, city staff indicated affirmitive.

Tonight, the Austin City Council informed Wal-Mart that it has perfected the doomsday device.

If Wal-Mart insists on building this massive 24-hour super-store, the city could implement a statutory change that not only would protect this neighborhood from all-night disturbance, but neighborhoods across the city. They could, effectively, cripple the Wal-Mart 24-hour business practice throughout the city.

Would the City actually do this? Maybe, maybe not. That's the thing about a doomsday device, you just never know.

Comments

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re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

You moved near a big mall. It's not "in your neighborhood" of course, it is in area that has been dedicated to retail mall and strip center development for over 40 years.

You knew that when you moved close to this big retail area.

Who the hell are you to decide who the Mall owner leases its space to?

You should either buy the Mall yourself or just move. I recommend you move far, far, away.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

Jim Howard is correct - it's not "in a residential neighborhood." And, if you live here like I do, you must know that. I live right by the mall, and I have always assumed that it will be, you know, dense commerical space. It's 300,000+ sq ft in the mall alone, and there's a six-story office tower next door, after all.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

Jim,

You are some rightwing guy in Austin. If anyone should leave its you. What the hell are you doing here. Did you not realize Austin is not a bastion of republicans. I can understand someone moving somewhere not next to a major highway and being surprised that the 2nd largest store over 200,000 square feet in all of central texas is moving in. I dont understand republicans moving to Austin and then being surprised that everyone doesnt love your poorly planned stupid wars. Now that the conservatives grand plans on foreign policy have been show to be abject failuers you are getting interested in local issues. I guess so you can screw that up as well. If you love G Bush and think Iraq was a success I suggest you move far far away from Austin.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

Uh, crestview, what does that nonsense have to do with WalMart? Smoke another bowl and calm down.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

crestview, I've lived in Austin since I was a kid, I grew up in east Austin and graduated from Reagan High in 1970 (we were national football champions!) and the University of Texas in 1974.

The Northcross Mall area has been a strip center/shopping mall for all that time. It is ludicrious to suggest that Walmart is building something "in my neighborhood" unless the author lives in one of the empty spaces in Northcross, or maybe in one of the dumpsters at the mall.

The people who want to dictate who the Northcross owners should sell or lease to should either buy the mall themselves and setup a 200,000 sqft Oat Willies, or just shut up.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

The neighborhood is behind Alamo Drafthouse and around the area, and my Aunt lives there, right behind the Alamo Village. There is probably more, I drive up Shoal Creek from work sometimes and there definitely is a neighborhood.

The Northcross owner is Lincoln Properties, who should probably knew the neighborhood would object and should have thought better that this would have happened.

Lincoln Properties also should have considered how such a large development would affect the neighborhood (lost property value, etc.) and so this is a conflict of interest. Maybe Lincoln Properties should buy the neighborhood and maybe this will go away, or maybe Lincoln Properties should move far, far away.

Whatever the case, the people who live there, who have purchased homes and who have become accustomed to living there, ought to have a right to have some say in this - so it is innapropriate to tell them they should buy the property (which we know is impossible), shut up (which we know won't happen), or move (which again we also know won't happen).

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

I don't like Wal-mart, I'd love to see a different store in there. I'd also like to see something more urban and ped friendly.

But, IT IS NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF A NEIGHBORHOOD! There are plenty of good talking points, why add a dishonest one? I was just up there this weekend at Terra Toys. The Wal-mart is going in in the middle of a shopping mall, which if it wasn't dying would be just as intense a use as Wal-mart. It's surrounded by butt-ugly strip malls. Are we arguing that all commercial there should be torn down and turned into houses? Either all of it is "in the middle of a neighborhood" or none of it is.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

I wondered what kind of discussion this would bring about. You see, I grew up near the intersection of Burnet Rd. & Koenig Ln. which isn't far from Northcross Mall. That was in...oh, 1975/1976....something like that?

Anyways, Northcross Mall and various shopping centers have always been in the area, as have all the neighborhoods that are speaking out about this issue. So it's not like something new just popped into the area. The problem has to do with, I think, economies of scale. The beighborhoods are concerned about all the traffic that's gonna get generated but I wonder, just because the store gets built in the area will there suddenly be this huge population of shoppers showing up at 2am just to shop at the Wal-Mart? Who knows?

One thing I do know is that the stores and strip centers all along Burnet Rd., from down around 45th St. all the way up to where it intersects with Mopac, have suffered from a lack of urban sprawl. People have moved away from the City center and are way out in Cedar Park, Round Rock, etc. and they have their own 24 hour Wal-Marts in those areas but I don't see that their quality of life has diminished too drastically. And to be quite honest, the property values in that part of Austin are as high now as they've been since I lived in the area.

So from what I see folks will be disturbed, for sure. Traffic is gonna increas, without a doubt. But I think it will also revitalize an area that I would hate to see crumble away because it was so stubborn that it couldn't see it's nose for it's face.

I think I would learn a little bit more circuitous route around the mall. I would plan on coming and going when things weren't quite so congested. And I would plan my trips to Wal-Mart at midnight when I can shop to my heart's content, without the sound of kids screaming cutting straight to the center of my brain. It means I could go stand in the Electronics section and evaluate which movie I wanted, or which video game I wanted for my PS2. Heck, I might even be able to do some grocery shopping without having to wait for 10 people to check out in front of me with their ill-behaved kids stepping on my foot or banging into my cart, or even dropping their half-eaten sucker on my wife's new jacket....the sucker they didn't plan on paying for to begin with.

Lighten up folks. Work together and come up with some plans and guidelines for making everyone happy instead of making it a confrontational ordeal.

And for the record, Bush ain't done a horrible job. I stand behind and respect every soldier in the U.S. military, I think the government is crooked as the Gambino crime family is, and though I do take more than my fair share of narcotic pain medications I don't partake of the natural herbs that some find so relaxing.

Have a good day all.
PJF

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

Why does everyone keep forgetting that Austin did not have the population or traffic or residents in the surrounding Northcross area that it does now 30 or 40 years ago?????? (new homes/condos went near Shoal Creek, check the dates on those apts inside the infill and when they were built, hey I got new duplexes down the street where a single family home once stood. Parts of Anderson Lane were not even paved 40 years ago. Why does everyone keep forgetting that the heyday of Northcross did not bring in the amount of customers close to what Highland pulls with JC Penney gone!?! Sharpen up folks. Common sense ain't so common.

re: The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device

A testament to what happens when retail gets too close to residential. Hey Mr "I grew up near Burnet and Koenig". Look at what happened to Koenig. Zoned for commercial, looks ugly, pushed people out of their homes. It's as big an eyesore as Northcross and what the hell are you going to do to it? Expand on both sides, destroying two neighborhoods? This sort of thing can go on and on. When are you people going to say enough retail, I want more residential? I want to have a choice and be able to own a house with 3x3 of yard at least? A condo? Do you need more retail Does anyone? You work your ass off to give it to corps for crap all weekend or do you work to own a house/condo/duplex in a neighborhood? I work for a house and I'd like to step off my porch into more neighborhood not commercial shit. Take a look at how commecial is destroying the once beautiful Riveroaks neighborhood in North Austin (78757). Encroachment....