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2002-09-24
Gilbert, AZ. Planners Say They Can Stop Wal-Mart for a Second Time.

Since 1999, Sprawl-Busters has followed the efforts of Wal-Mart to get into the town of Gilbert, Arizona. Wal-Mart was defeated three years ago when it tried to locate a superstore at the corner of Lindsay and Warner roads. We reported on September 1, 2002 that Wal-Mart was back for a second confrontation, this time just one mile to the west of their former site. The proposed location would be adjoining the Gilbert Town Hall, directly across the street from an elementary school, in an area the town had planned on using for a more upscale commercial project. It also happens to be within a 10 minute drive to two other Wal-Marts. But according to an article in the September 20th. East Valley Tribune, Wal-Mart may strike out again in Gilbert. The article quotes Gilbert Town Planners as saying that they discovered zoning language that could trip up the superstore. "In going back and researching the ordinances, we realized they are very specific, saying (large retail or grocery stores) are not permitted there," said the town's senior planner. "The ordinance is enforceable and has legal power." Wal-Mart reportedly has its parcel in escrow, and is working on plans for a 185,000 s.f. store. But planners say the megastore format is inappropriate for an ordinance which calls for smaller scale, open spaces, outdoor plazas, and a "small town, small scale" pedestrian-oriented design. Town officials are reluctant to come right out and oppose the project before it is submitted, but Mayor Steve Berman put the handwriting on the WAL: "All I can say is they should read all the restrictions before they go into escrow." Nevertheless, Wal-Mart is expected to file its proposal soon. The town's attorney says the zoning code is sufficiently clear "to give a landowner a reasonable idea of what is expected for that property." That's never stopped Wal-Mart in the past, however.

What you can do: For more information on Wal-Mart's attempted second strike in Gilbert, search this database by "Gilbert" and http://www.geocities.com/nodowntownwalmart










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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