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2002-10-27
Savannah, GA. County Considers Rezoning Land to keep out Wal-Mart.

On September 4, 2002, we brought you the story of Sandfly, a neighborhood in historic Savannah. Georgia that was fighting a Wal-Mart supercenter. In October, the Metropolitan Planning Commission voted to grant approvals for the Wal-Mart project. But that was not the end of the Sandfly story. Newly elected Chatham County Commissioner John McMasters has opened up the case by asking his colleagues to enforce a county ordinance that requires Chatham to review the zoning of undeveloped property every two years. On October 25th, McMasters asked the Planning commision to revisit the issue of the zoning for the Wal-Mart parcel. 7 out of 9 Commissioners voted to ask for the zoning review. "I think it would behoove us as elected officials to finally stand up for our constituents," McMasters told the Savannah Morning News. But other commissioners warned that trying to rezone the land would invite a lawsuit from the property owners. McMasters said he would prefer to see a mix of housing and smaller commercial uses on the parcel, and indicated that despite the legal threat, it was worth it "to do the right thing." The Commissioners first have to vote on the Planning Commissioner's recommendation in support of the Wal-Mart, and then bring the rezoning issue forward. One of the landowners told the Morning News: "If the county elects to rezone the property, we will move ahead with developing in accordance with current zoning. I respect the county's right to rezone property. I also respect the rights of landowners to stand by their rights when action is taken against their property."

What you can do: Pretty tough words from a landowner who obviously is more concerned about maximizing his profits than in understanding why so many of his neighbors don't like his supercenter dreams. The group Save Our Sandfly (SOS) has been opposing this project, but until recently, public officials seemed to be disinterested in the rights of residents to oppose the harm this project will bring upon their property values.For more background, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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