Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Be careful what you wish for!

A few years ago I marvelled at the lawn signs in a nearby community proclaiming Say NO to ; free speech is always paramount, and while I lived not terribly far from this community, I never paid the matter much attention.

Yes, I could have benefited for a closer Wal-Mart to my home, but since most of the anti-Wal-Mart protests I've read over the years centers around a hate of big business, I just assumed it was more of the same (and for all I know, it was).

However, I like Wal-Mart, overall, and I'll defend their right to operate as I would any other legal, free enterprise.

That being said... with all due respect to those involved, you gotta love the irony of a story like this:

THE MORNING CALL: Walt Neidlinger spent years trying to keep a Wal-Mart-anchored shopping complex from being built near his home.

The traffic would have been suffocating for their little community, neighbors argued, so when the massive retailer and its partners packed up their plans and left Plainfield Township last year, Neidlinger was ecstatic. He figured he'd wait for the next plan to come along and remembers thinking, ''What could be worse than Wal-Mart?''

Over the past year, Neidlinger says, he's gotten an answer: -- the metal-shredding plant on the same land -- causes daily noise that sounds like a freight train rumbling down the street, and frequent explosions that shake his walls.

Heh.... I am laughing now, just reading this.

The land was to be home to a retail center that would have included Wal-Mart and a Lowe's Home Improvement warehouse, but after years of debate that included
vocal opposition from residents, developers withdrew the plans in January 2007.

RPM Recycling opened in October on 4.5 acres bordering Wind Gap. Perin said it was always slated to share the land with the Wal-Mart development -- not retaliation for opposition -- and papers filed with Plainfield in 2003 support that.

Most residents didn't know it was coming largely because it is an approved use for that land and did not need any additional approvals by the township's zoning office, said Plainfield zoning officer Charles L. Knecht Jr.

Owned by [Nolan A.] Perin, Joseph Raimo and George Miller, RPM takes in 300 tons of scrap a day. The scrap includes everything from appliances to bicycles, but is mostly crushed cars. The scrap must arrive without batteries and fuel tanks. After the shredder slices it into small pieces, the foam, plastic, cardboard and other ''fluff'' is separated. The metal is then sold on a lucrative open market, with scrap selling for more than $500 a ton.

So now residents are complaining to the Township, who would be damned if they did allow Wal-Mart, and are being damned now because a legally operation industrial business - who likely hires local people - are operating within the confines of the various zoning ordinances.

Now I am not laughing at the residents who either did not protest Wal-Mart, or who did so because they genuinely believed the traffic related issues of a Wal-Mart and Lowe's were worthy of arguing against them being built. I know I wouldn't want the noise described in my community.

I will laugh at those in that community who would demonize Wal-Mart at every turn, however. They got what they wanted, now they (and their neighbors) have to live with the consequences!

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