|

Vote FOR Heath Special Election for beer, wine sales to get grocery store

HEATH – Heath residents who want a major grocery store within their city limits can take a giant step in that direction May 12 by voting FOR the Special Election for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only.

According to the local group HeathForIt, which includes former Rockwall Mayor Alma Williams Howard, who initiated the necessary petition which led to Saturday’s election, a successful passing of the local option will lead to the development of a “reputable” grocery store, drug store, a town center, more restaurants and further retail. This will increase the City’s sales tax revenue and prevent a possible property tax increase. Their website can be found at www.HeathForIt.com, which includes comments from outgoing Mayor John Ratcliffe.

“This election is not about beer and wine sales. It’s all about getting a grocery store in Heath,” she said.

No organized opposition to the Special Election seems to have surfaced.

Outgoing Mayor John Ratcliffe confirmed that the developer who recently built the Tom Thumb store in Rockwall and one Heath landowner have represented and confirmed that there is an option contract in place to build a grocery store, contingent upon the passage of off-premises beer and wine sales in Heath.

The developer would like to build a 60,000 sq. ft. grocery store plus add other complimentary retailers.

“As you might appreciate, the City is not directly involved in any contracts or negotiations between Heath landowners and retail developers,” the Mayor told TheRockwallNews.com.

“However, in one instance, we have met jointly on several occasions with one Heath landowner and the retail developer who recently built the Tom Thumb in North Rockwall. Both have represented and confirmed to me, our Economic Development Council and others that there is an option contract in place for the sale of the property which is contingent upon the passage of off-premises beer and wine sales in Heath.”

Mayor Ratcliffe said there are several grocery stores interested in locating in Heath but no agreements have been made.

“The developer has expressed his intent and desire to build a 60,000 sq ft grocery store and bring other complimentary retail uses to the property in question. Although he has worked with Tom Thumb most recently, the developer has indicated there are ‘several possibilities’ for the anchor grocery tenant. To be clear, however, there has been no city approval or agreement regarding a specific grocery store development.”

According to one City Council member who preferred not to have a name used, Albertson’s and Walmart Neighborhood Market are at least two stores which have contacted the City.

The Council member said the most likely locations for the development are the large field east of the Shell station at the intersection of Hwy. 549 and FM740, just south of Heath High School, and the large field east of FM 740, just south of the Buffalo Creek subdivision.

Heath has maintained the same tax rate for the past 20 years, receiving most of its income from ad valorem real estate taxes.

The Heath Economic Development Corporation recently approved the following declaration at their March 27 meeting:

“Whereas, the Heath Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) has conducted numerous studies regarding ways to promote desirable avenues of development in the City of Heath; and Whereas, the results of those studies and communications with potential developers have indicated that approval of the measure to “legalize the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only” would greatly enhance the likelihood that grocery and other low impact retail would locate in the City of Heath; Now, therefore, the HEDC finds that the approval of the measure to “legalize the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only” will result in increased and enhanced economic development in the City of Heath.”

TheRockwallNews.com strongly recommends that Heath residents vote FOR the Special Election May 12 for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

Tags:

Leave a Reply