May 30, 2012 at 11:45am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Folks who live near 27th and Grainger Parkway are up in arms over the likely arrival of Walmart to the area. Meanwhile, the new LPS District Office development—which will include Whole Foods—is widely praised. What a difference a retailer makes.

The two developments have far too many differences to make a fair comparison. Still, it’s fun to contrast the two welcomes. Walmart was reviled from the moment it was announced; Whole Foods, save for some minor concerns about traffic, parking, and lighting, was greeted warmly. Those differences were largely based on popular perception of the retailers. It’s easy to see why. One of the retailers is run by an ardent capitalist and global warming denialist who compares unions to herpes and loathes Obamacare.

The other is Walmart.

I don’t have a dog in this fight. I couldn’t care less about the new Whole Foods or the proposed Walmart, either based on retailer reputation or the development to which they belong. Both are legal, properly zoned, correctly permitted, and so forth. After that ... well, it’s just the luck of the draw whether neighbors get a “good” or “bad” development. Neighbors are welcome to fight, but at least in Walmart’s case it seems far too little far too late. Walmart has fought off entire cities before. A couple hundred pissed off neighbors don’t hold much weight, unless they’ve got a really good alternative in hand. In this case they don’t.

There must be something about South 27th Street that draws NIMBY-esque controversy. There was the Alzheimers facility near 27th and Old Cheney; the daycare near 29th and Pine Lake; the CVS back at 27th and Old Cheney; and now Walmart. If you live on South 27th, check the zoning of nearby properties. You might be next. And given the rapid acceleration in land uses, the next one’s likely to be a doozy like a Federal prison. You’ve been warned.

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The Comments

Just Thinkin' May 30, 2012 at 2:23pm

The people commenting in response to this morning’s Lincoln Journal Star article are really fired up. I kind of suspect if the developer was proposing a Costco, Best Buy or Whole Foods for the site, the neighbors would not complaint much. They may even welcome the development. I question whether the backlash is in response to stereotypes about Walmart’s customers. I don’t think the City should accommodate neighborhoods that want to exclude people based upon race, ethnicity or income. If the neighbors are protesting because they don’t want “THOSE PEOPLE” on their side of town, they are motivated by ugly bigotry and don’t deserve any special considerations.

Fletch May 30, 2012 at 2:47pm

Don’t forget the whole idiocy of the Country Club neighborhood, also on S. 27th Street, which still thinks that their neighborhood is not a traffic bottleneck and doesn’t think 27h should be widened there, ever.

I love the fallacy of the perceived “rich folk” not wanting the Walmart in their backyard (as in the LJS commenters, not as presented in this blog). Newsflash: many of those folk will indeed shop at Walmart. Contrary to popular opinion, there are a lot of people who the average Joe may define as “rich” who get/got that way simply because they live well within their means. You can have a large house, and even drive a Lexus, etc., and still enjoy low prices.

If you want yours eyes opened on this subject, read “The Millionaire Next Door.”

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