Tom Egger and the Kroger Marketplace: Politics always gets its way–but they shouldn’t
My previous articles about some of the deeper troubles with politics have been leading up to this issue, which I felt I needed to explain in prequel fashion to provide context. In the battle with West Chester residents over a new Kroger store, where the supermarket chain wishes to build a new superstore at the corner of Tylersville Road and 747, it is the residents who have more power and say over the political machine built by Republicans to change zoning in order to satisfy the end game on their property investments. CLICK HERE for a review on those prequel thoughts. For more info on the Kroger store, click the link below.
I sympathize deeply with Tom Egger and his neighbors on Wethersfield Drive who are fighting the proposed Kroger Marketplace construction. They do not want to see a shopping center with thousands of people parked at the doorsteps of their homes. I say that knowing very well many of the people who are involved directly in the development of some of these properties in Liberty Twp and West Chester. There is only one thing that I respect more than the right of a property owner to make money off their properties and that is the rights of the home owner to protect their individual plots of land. To me residential homes are equally valuable to a plot of land that is currently just a field. The developer makes such a plot of land into a revenue generating entity and that is very valuable. But that value does not exceed the value of the individual property owner.
When the developers bought the plot of land in question they spent a lot of their own money on it with the understanding that the proper arms would be twisted to make way for the eventual commercial development of the property and provide a return on their investment a decade down the road. Many of these developers tie their money up in properties for many years before they ever see the opportunity to get their money back in developments like the Kroger Marketplace. Developers will purchase these plots of land based on initial zoning maps that show 20 year forecasts where current day zoning may be residential, but future zoning shows commercial development.
This is where the fight over Agenda 21 comes into our local communities and why I will soon be at odds with the same people I worked with in No Lakota Levy to fight the local school levies. The zoning maps are created by big government lovers who socially engineer communities around Agenda 21, and developers, trustees, and business finance uses those zoning projections to make their investments into communities. When fights break out over these changes the fight always happens between the developers and the residents when the real culprits are the zoning central planners who are either dead and in a grave by the time the zoning change is proposed or retired comfortably in a Florida condo living the rest of their lives off a government pension. The villains are nowhere to be found as they made their plans without voter input away from the eyes of the community leaving residents to fight it out with developers over plans nobody ever knew existed, and are helpless to stop because politics sides most of the time with the developers. When campaign times come, the developers are the ones who make the financial contributions to politicians, not Tom Egger and his neighbors, so local government tends to roll over the rights of the private citizen, which is what will happen with Kroger at the end of Wethersfield Drive.
Central planners from twenty years prior will point to the “greater good” as a reason to step all over the property rights of private citizens with emanate domain justification, such as what happened with the Butler Country Regional Highway. Without the Regional Highway and the many lives it destroyed by basically stealing away the properties of the people in its path there would not be a current Bridgewater Falls shopping center or the upcoming Liberty Way development would not even be a thought. So developers will often use the “greater good” as a reason to justify the developments they wish to build. Developers are used to opposition to their projects and they often know how to play the politics in their favor. For people like Tom Egger knows all too well, often the zoning approvals occur regardless of how many people show up to speak against a proposed zoning change—because the deals for the property were made long ago by forces who do not represent the homeowners, but the financial investment into the community.
Usually when the property owners lose in these zoning fights; they get a nice financial settlement that makes the pill go down a bit better. Over time, most everyone forgives the imposition. Government workers and developers know people will forget and forgive over time, so in the short run, they will steam roll over the private citizen because they can, and because they have millions of dollars of their own money tied up in a development while the homeowner is only investing 200K to 300K in their private property. In this way, the developer can justify their position.
However, the developers are wrong. Communities like Indian Hill have never yielded to such pressures as commercial development that is over zealous and a direct response to Agenda 21 community planners who want to see utopia like communities complete with fountains, side-walks, easy access to gas stations, and plenty of convenient banking. This is why Indian Hill is filled with extremely valuable real estate, because the zoning was never infused with Agenda 21 strategies. Instead, Madera, Deer Park, Kenwood and all the surrounding communities have felt that wrath with very mixed results. What Tom Egger is fighting for is the long view return on his investment. His property will not increase in value because a Kroger Store sits at the end of his road. It clutters up his life unnecessarily, because when he moved to West Chester Kroger was down the road, not at the end of his driveway. Developers will say that a Kroger Store was always slated for that property, but the real estate agent surely didn’t tell Tom Egger and his family that when they invested in their home over a decade ago.
People like Tom Egger have just as much value as property owners as the developers who bought the big field of the proposed Kroger site. Egger and his neighbors should not be steam rolled over because they do not pour thousands of dollars into local politics, or have millions tied up in a potential real estate deal. The rights of the individual rules 100% of the time over those of the collective good—there is no argument about the greater good that developers can make to justify moving a Kroger store one mile down the road so it can reside in front of Tom Egger’s property. Tom Egger’s home may not be worth millions dollars, like the property being developed for Kroger is, but to Tom it is. It is his palace, his cherished enterprise, and the result of his work and effort. Tom should not lose the quality of his life to the whims of money and politics just because he can’t play the political game at the same level as the developers.
I will fight to protect those same developers from being unnecessarily pillaged from collectivist school systems and big government taxation policies, as I did by joining with some of them in our group called No Lakota Levy. But I will always fight for the rights of people like Tom Egger who are the valued citizens who maintain thousands of similar properties all over West Chester and Liberty Twp. It is they who make up the community and it is they who ultimately hold the most social value. Their individual rights far exceed those of financial investment and political will which is aligned in a marriage made in court and sanctioned by judges. It is for this reason that I stand with Tom Egger, his neighbors and those like him against a Kroger Marketplace shopping center. The context for my opinion is in my prequel statements. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW. Doing what is right and good is not always easy, and can cross the lines of political parties, friendships, and even vested interest. But doing “good” is what we must all be committed to, no matter what the cost of that “good” is.
If Kroger wants to build a new Marketplace Center, they need to do it in the location it currently resides at. If it’s not possible, then Kroger can live with shoppers going to the Liberty Twp location. Better yet the old Biggs building could be converted over to a Kroger Marketplace easily since it has plenty of square footage–but such logic is not what this Kroger deal is all about. It’s not about doing what’s good for the community–it’s about recovering the money invested in the field across from Tom’s house with a political favor that will be just one more empty building 30 years down the road. That is why Tom Eggar and his property should not be crushed under the political will of collectivism and an original sin designed by the architects of Agenda 21. When the Kroger building becomes old and out-of-style Tom Eggar and his grand-kids will probably have Christmas dinners at his home, and a Kroger store that will lose value in the coming decades will then be an eye sore and a grim reminder to future generations of the power of politics and the people it crushes when they get in its way. In this regard, Tom Eggar’s home will still have much value, but the Kroger store will just be another old building that nobody wants to visit.