New Fulshear business center draws controversy

Some people who live in the area say the stores, which include Walmart, will hurt their way of life
April 3, 2014 7:51:30 AM PDT
A community in Fort Bend County is growing, and with that means more stores and shops. But some residents near Fulshear want to keep those extra businesses out.

One of them is a Walmart, which is planned for FM 1093 and FM 1463. Some people who live in the area say the store will hurt their way of life.

Residents say all 93 acres will be filled to capacity, and they worry that the new businesses will attract more traffic and crime.

A large pond and the animals that thrive in it are just one of the reasons Erin Tristan bought a home in the Cross Creek Ranch subdivision in Fulshear.

"If you just stop and listen you hear the trees blowing, the ducks quacking," Tristan said.

It's an oasis outside of the hustle and bustle of Houston but one that neighbors fear is in jeopardy.

Down the street, a proposed major development is underway, including a Walmart Supercenter. The developer, Lovett Commercial, also plans to add more than a dozen other stores to the center.

"We are less than two miles away from the store with our home and I'm just afraid that we will have an impact from the environmental standpoint," concerned resident Tajana Mesic said.

"We actually have a Walmart that is less than five miles away and another north of us, less than eight miles away. So basically it's a redundancy of a resource that we don't need out here," Tristan said.

Residents say the Walmart will be one of the largest of its kind and be open for 24 hours. To them, that also makes it open to crime.

But not everyone we talked to agrees.

"I can't imagine why people would be opposed to it," resident Everett Dyer said. "It's closer, I don't have to drive as far and competition is good."

Fulshear officials admit no matter what side of the fence residents are on, there's nothing they can do to stop it.

"These citizens are very concerned about that. We want to give them a voice, that's why we held a town hall meeting. But at the end of the day that's really all we can do for them, is to express our concerns for them and through them to the developers," city administrator CJ Snipes said.

Lovett Commercial has not yet replied to our requests for comment.

Walmart did give us this statement on Thursday, April 3.

    Our top priority every day is to serve our customers and provide them with fresh food and household merchandise at affordable prices. Our customers tell us they want the convenience of one-stop shopping in rapidly growing Fort Bend county. This store will provide fresh produce, bakery, deli, pharmacy with $4 prescriptions, baby and pet items, health and beauty supplies, and a lawn and garden center.

    This store will also provide approximately 300 jobs. The average hourly wage for full time associates in Texas is $12.51. That figure does not include salaried members of management and does not take into account the competitive benefits package that Walmart provides all eligible associates, including health care, 401k with company match, discounts on merchandise, and quarterly bonuses. Our wages and benefits typically meet or exceed those offered by a majority of our competitors. In addition, through our Welcome Home commitment, Walmart will hire any honorably discharged veteran who wants a job with us within his or her first twelve months off active duty.

    And at a time when it's harder to get to the middle class, Walmart offers opportunity. It's easy to get in: 15,000-50,000 job openings on any given day at Walmart US with no special degrees or background required. It's easy to move up: 170,000 promotions in 2013 (40% of those promotions went to people in their first year with Walmart) and 75,000 people move from part time to full time every year. And then the sky's the limit: more than 90% of the store management teams in Texas started as hourly associates and they earn between $50k and $250k a year.

    I would like also to bring to your attention a recent study showing the positive impact our supercenters have had in California communities by supporting additional job creation, small business growth and more robust sales tax revenues. That study is not unique, there are several studies which showcase the value a Walmart can bring to a community: "Revisiting Wal-Mart's Impact on Iowa Small Town Retail: Twenty-Five Years Later" found that small towns in Iowa (between 3,000 and 20,000 population) that have hosted Wal-Mart stores showed moderate increases in total retail sales in the 15 years following the stores' opening. In the 15 years following the Walmart opening, the general merchandise (GM) category sector in host towns showed a sharp increase in sales, while the control towns saw a slight decrease in GM sales. "Has Wal-Mart Buried Mom and Pop?" showed that Walmart has no statistically significant impact on the overall size of the small business sector in the United States and there are just as many small businesses that are just as profitable despite the presence of Walmart.

    With regard to the tax revenue that a Walmart store can generate, in FYE2013, Walmart collected $1.5 billion in taxes and paid $333.6 million. These taxes were collected on behalf of the state of Texas as part of transactional sales of taxable goods and services for FYE 2013.

    The safety and security of all our customers and associates is always a top priority for us. We serve more than 140 million customers in our U.S. stores every week. While we do not reveal our store security measures because then they would be less secure, we can assure that our store operators and our asset protection teams carefully evaluate our security and crime prevention measures on a store-by-store basis. They partner closely with law enforcement agencies in every community we serve to continually review our safety measures and make them even more effective.

Find Karla on Facebook at ABC13KarlaBarguiarena or on Twitter at @KarlaABC13

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices


Load Comments