Amazon’s Hard Bargain Extends Far Beyond New York

Amazon’s Hard Bargain Extends Far Beyond New York

With anger growing over the tax, the council relented and repealed it. “This is not a winnable battle at this time,” Lisa Herbold, a member of the City Council, said before the vote. “The opposition has unlimited resources.”

As Amazon expands, including closer to more major cities like New York and Chicago, it is facing more local demands.

“People think that Amazon is a 100 percent sleek machine,” said Beth Gutelius, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus on warehouses. In reality, a lot falls through the cracks. “Even if they are trying to be strategic locally, they can’t actually do it because they are so big and sprawling.”

In late 2017, Amazon opened a warehouse in Edison, N.J., near New York. The site used to be a quiet warehouse for comforters and bedding, but lights now shine and trucks rumble at all hours. Amazon made some changes, like having the trucks emit a low hiss, rather than beep, on the loading docks. But neighbors said commotion was still intrusive.

Lisa Bukachevsky, who lives behind the warehouse, said she tried to hire a lawyer, but none would take her case. “They said, ‘You don’t have enough money to fight Amazon,’” she said.

The town attorney took up the issue, and Amazon hired a sound engineer and then constructed the 20-foot tall wall that cost $3 million.

The wall helps block the light, but not much of the noise, Ms. Bukachevsky said. She and her husband, Mark, say Amazon could have saved a lot of headache if it had consulted the community first.

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