The Beacon Square Homeowners Association appreciates the opportunity to meet with the insensitive landlord and Dollar Store owners, who plan, over strong community objections, to further concentrate low end retail stores in our community.
To be clear, we object strongly and will press our viewpoints at any meeting. We will do so respectfully, but forcefully. We believe that the concentration of 3 dollar stores within a 100 yard radius is the reverse of “gentrification” in that it will result inn a negative perception of our community, and further the ghettoization, (to coin a phrase) a form of red lining, of our neighborhood of solidly middle class homeowners, the majority of whom are African Americans. We refuse to become a dumping ground or magnet for undesirable retail concentrations. NIMBY adequately summarizes the community’s determination to preserve our quality of life, and property values. We understand that while the zoning code may permit the concentration of undesirable low-end retail, the code does not mean we have to like, or even tolerate it.
We have expressed our NIMBY feelings to the Mayor, council members and other elected officials. And will do so at the meeting if, and when, it occurs.
We have the recent Walmart example to demonstrate the power a community can bring to bear when it objects to a retailer locating in an area where it is unwelcome, or its presence will impair the quality of life of residents. The area of 12 Mile and Southfield Road was zoned for Walmart, but it is not there. Walmart, one of, if not the largest, retailers in the world understood the power of a community organized around NIMBY. It was wise enough to realize it should not locate where it was not wanted. Does the owner have multiple dollar stores in his community? Or elsewhere? The Dollar Tree is filthy, the carpet is disgusting, the store is junky, and boxes are always in the middle of the store floor. The outside is even worse. There is nothing about it nor, frankly, code enforcement’s blind eye to its disgusting lack of sanitation that supports locating another in our community. The existing stores are hardly glowing recommendations for another dollar store in our neighborhood. The existing store has the aspect of a ghetto store that disrespects its customers.
We have worked too hard to attain the lifestyle we enjoy in Beacon Square to permit it to be destroyed by someone who could care less about the preservation of our neighborhood. While it may not be apparent to an unobservant eye, Beacon Square residents are well educated, politically savvy, sophisticated people. Succinctly put, we know how to exert power and influence to protect our interest. Many of us come from activists’ backgrounds and know how to organize communities and sustain demonstrations. If necessary, and, in order to protect our investments and preserve our quality of life, we will dust off the old playbooks.
I hope our position is clear. We are willing to meet with whomever you wish, but our bottom line remains NIMBY.
Very truly yours,
Samuel V. Thomas