Friday, January 16, 2009

Wegmans Saga Part Nine

I ran into Richard Talkin at the Roger Lewis talk this past Wednesday. Richard is the local counsel for Wegmans. Whenever I’ve wanted to find out what’s going with Wegmans I’ve turned to Richard.

In my last post on Wegmans (Wegmans Saga Part Eight) I speculated that, with their most recent court victory, they would likely be on track for a late 2009, early 2010 opening. Local food blogger HowChow pointed out that on the list of upcoming store openings on their website; the opening for the Columbia Wegmans is listed as “to be determined.”

I asked Richard if Wegmans was postponing their expansion plans due to the economy.

“We’re still working to resolve the legal challenges.”

Apparently, the latest Board of Appeals victory was not the end of the legal battles. “We have three separate court cases going on,” he told me, “It’s ridiculous.”


The Wegmans opponents continue to appeal every loss despite not having won a single ruling so far. It seems that the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has determined that even though they may not stop Wegmans from eventually opening in Columbia they can at least delay the inevitable.

Not suprisingly, this same union has also allied itself with a very vocal minority who are trying to keep Harris Teeter out of Turf Valley. They seem determine to pud a lid on anymore non union grocers in Howard County.


Freemarket said...

The most powerful union in the county is the teachers union. Who do you think that union benefits at taxpayer expense: students or teachers?

Anonymous said...

A small minority?
That is fallacy, not fact.

The immediate community of Legends and Vistas is divided, the Turf Valley Overlook 1, 2, and the 5th Turf Valley community are divided, the surrounding business community is divided.

Just because the council, the Chamber, and one neighborhood seem to think that the remainder of those who will experience deep impacts deserve no representation or voice, does not make it TRUE.

Last time I checked, we were still a Democracy.

Ryan Ballengee said...

Actually, we aren't a democracy. We're a representative republic.

Anonymous said...

We are not a democracy nor a representative republic, we are a community of narcistic,self centered egotists and complainers who are willing to forego the good of the community and the decisions of the public servants we elect for our own personal egos and gain. We preach the rule of law when it is convenient for our interests and twist it to our convenience and benefit when it serves our interests. We are the special interests and privileged who scorn reason and good common sense.
We are opinionated, self serving, opportunistic, and usually wrong.

Tom said...

We elect people to make hard decisions for us. These people make the hard decisions with the best interest of the community at heart. Yes, elections have consequences. We must learn to live with these consequences.
All these legal battles are only adding costs to living in our community and reducing our quality of life. If you don't agree with the decisions of our fairly elected public servants come out from behind the anonymous moniker and run for office. Then you too can be accountable to the community.

Anonymous said...

TOM, I couldn't agree with you more. Well said.
I'm just tired of hearing from the naysayers and idiots.

Anonymous said...


Based on your descriptions, sounds like you're taking to task the land development community.

Good for you.

But please add purchasing of votes and influence resulting in no form of representative governance.

Best to you.

Anonymous said...

Tom, people we elected also decided (and enacted laws based on that decision) it wise to provide citizens the check and balance of referendum in the event that their elected representatives' decisions were found to be sufficiently objectionable.

Since you are here now objecting to their decision to provide the option of referendum, should we now expect you to take your own medicine, jump out from behind your surnameless moniker, and run for public office? Just don't expect a lot of success running on a platform of taking rights away from the electorate.

Legal recourse, like other public protections that also sometime present a cost to the public, is the means necessary to counter all kinds of ills: flawed decisions, mistakes, malfeasance, etc., and offers the opportunity to do so civilly. Foregoing such protections presents far greater costs to the public at large.

Go Wegmans! said... anti-goverment conspiracy theorist.

A few minutes of searching came up with some Wegmans updates:
1. Carvel Mays. His appeal was dismissed by the Howard County Circuit Court on 1/5/09. He thinks that he should be allowed to appeal even though he lives 10 miles away. His real reason is that his is the local food workers union president and doesn't want a non union Wegmans.

2. Philip Rousseau. A resident near the Wegmans location aligned with the food workers union. His appeal was submitted too late. The Board of Appeals dismissed his case late last year. He has files a petion for judicial review with the Circuit Court.

3. Philip Rousseau. Traffic appeal was heard in December by the Board of Appeals and no ruling has been issued.

The food workers union has injected themselves into the Wegmans and Turf Valley Harris Teeter issues. They have turned both issues into a circus instead of the civil legal recourse meant for affected county residents.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:02, well stated.

Buffaloguy said...

Hi Wordbones,

Thanks for the Wegmans update.
I just returned from my beloved hometown of Buffalo. I was there for about a week due to a death in the family. The weather was horrible, and the roads awful, but I still managed to go to Wegmans at least three times to ease my pain and misery. While there, I couldn't help but wonder why people would be so afraid of a wonderful supermarket like Wegmans. The Wegmans in Amherst, NY is in an area just as conjested as Snowden River and McGaw Road. Even in good weather, there is not any noticable difference in the traffic patterns because of Wegmans. Based on the traffic that is in the proposed area now, most customers at Wegmans likely would already be shopping in that area anyhow. In my opinion, the traffic impact would be much less severe than opponents would like you to believe. But as is often stated in this great country, "everyone deserves their day in court". Here's to hoping that logic prevails, and ground is broken soon. Columbia will not be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

I don't see people opposed to Wegmans as much as people taking action to hold everyone to the same standards.

Whenever the option is to crush trees, plow through buildings that house tradition, or steamroll over present residents, our mutual local gov't not only supports it, but goes beyond anything imaginable in other counties to promote it.

People are tired of seeing constant inequality in representation. The Wegman's deal broke all sorts of rules, procedures, etc. that others have had to follow.

Buffaloguy said...

…and the union secretly funding local residents so they can claim there are traffic issues is equality? By the way Anon, what exactly are the rules and procedures that were broken?

Anonymous said...

You think the legal battles are costing a lot. What about JimJam Robey's little $10.5 million gift to Mangiones for road development. That is probably only slightly more than I expect the next round of litigation to cost.

Anonymous said...

All I want is to have a wonderful place to shop so I can find the ingredients I want when I make something, a great selection of meats, a place to just buy a quick dinner, great bread, and a great place for people to work at the same time.

I am so offended by the few who keep postponing this effort.

Lisa Markovitz said...

If the courts would do the right thing and award attorney fees to the winning sides of cases, it would greatly reduce nonsense lawsuits that are brought about simply to harrass and delay. I know of no short-cuts or inappropriate issues in the Wegman's deal. It's not like they are tearing down a park for goodness' sake. It's already a commercial area. The lawsuits are about GREED and not the service of the community at all. Wegman's isn't unionized, God Bless them, and that's the whole issue. It stinks. I hope the final judge or appeals court in the final stage of this court battle awards attorney fees in the tens of millions to Wegmans and takes a bite out of the "let's harrass anyone who won't pay us off" fund of the corupt union.

Anonymous said...


I could not agree more with you. Well said!