I was shocked to read in The Examiner that the City Council has approved liquor and cigarette licenses for a Walmart store in the former Gaslight Square, 35th and Noland. Shocked because this was the first announcement I have heard about moving a Walmart, or any other store, into our neighborhood.

I was shocked to read in The Examiner that the City Council has approved liquor and cigarette licenses for a Walmart store in the former Gaslight Square, 35th and Noland. Shocked because this was the first announcement I have heard about moving a Walmart, or any other store, into our neighborhood. Can you explain to me when the Council approved the Walmart proposal and why no input was sought from nearby neighborhoods?

There are a number of reasons why Walmart should not be in our neighborhood. Among them are:

1. The harm to local business owners who have been long-time community supporters and are good neighbors, such as Price Chopper and Hy-Vee. The city should act to support our local businesses and help them succeed.

This morning I checked the mileage between Gaslight Square and the following grocery locations: Price Chopper Grocery, 42nd and Noland Road, .9 of a mile; Hy-Vee Grocery, U.S. 40 and Noland, 1.3 mile; Walmart Superstore, U.S. 40 and Sterling, 2.4 miles; Walmart Superstore, M-291 and 39th Street, 3.1 miles.

Any reasonable person can see that three Walmarts within 3.1 miles, or even another grocery store within those short distances, would be devastating to local established businesses.

2. The 35th and Noland location is not an underserved area for grocery stores. A number of years ago, Ken McClain bought out a string of properties on the west side of Noland just south of 23rd Street for the primary purpose of building a grocery store for that “underserved” area. The Council approved his proposal, but no grocery has been built. Having a Walmart at 35th and Noland will not satisfy any “underserved” area of Independence.

3. There is also no doubt the effects a Walmart pharmacy will have on existing pharmacies in the area, i.e., Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, CVS, Walgreen’s and others. Or effects a Walmart liquor store will have on other liquor stores in the area. Competition is one thing, but saturation of the same kind of businesses in one area is poor community planning and a recipe for disaster. There are too many businesses in Independence which have gone out of business because of too heavy a concentration of the same type of business.

4. Added traffic to the 35th and Noland intersection would add significantly to the already heavy use of that area, and would likely affect nearby neighborhoods that have been enjoyably peaceful for the last 50 years.

Leaving the Gaslight Square buildings empty would be far better for Independence than granting any more permits for Walmart to operate in our city.

It is my understanding this is already a done deal, that there is no need for further Council approval.

Can anyone explain to me why? Why is there no forum for discussion in this matter?