Residents of Acme Township will head to the polls August 2 to decide whether to allow the township board nine months to develop new rules for managing big-box stores. The elected board already approved a nine-month moratorium on such stores while it studies the matter, but a petition drive put the action to a vote.
I urge Acme residents to cast a yes vote and place the townships, and indeed the regions, interest ahead of an impatient few.
Ill confess to a personal interest in the outcome. I spent a memorable part of my childhood in Acme, exploring its natural places with my family and friends. Many of those places still exist and afford new generations of children the same joy Ive known. Nine months strikes me as a very small investment to protect something so priceless as Acmes rural character and quality of life.
Whats behind this concern over big-box stores? For many like me, the fear is the hidden costs that underpin the behemoth retailers costs borne not by the stores, but forced onto the communities they inhabit. These outlets promise low prices but can drive up local taxes to pay for the big problems that dont show up on their products price tags. Problems such as heavy traffic congestion, lost farmland, shuttered local shops, and weakened downtowns