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2002-12-07
Spring Hill, FL. Residents want Wal-Mart supercenter torn down.

Citizens in Spring Hill, Florida continue with their marathon battle against a Wal-Mart supercenter that is now well under construction. The battle has been on-going for three years. The Coalition for Anti-Urban Sprawl and the Environnment (CAUSE) scored a victory -- of sorts -- recently in the state's 5th. Circuit Court under Florida's Sunshine law. A judge ruled that the Hernando County Commissioners should have made public all deliberations of the Development Review Committee (DRC), which reviews development proposals like the Wal-Mart plan adjacent to the Weeki Wachi Preserve. However, the judge also ruled that a permit Wal-Mart was issued through the DRC to build at a U.S. 19 location was valid, even though the meetings that were held to consider the plan were illegal. The judge also ruled that DRC meetings be open to the public in the future. The County Commissioners, rather than open up the doors of the DRC to the public, appealed the Circuit Court ruling, and ordered the DRC not to meet again until the higher Court stays the Circuit Court ruling, or decides the appeal. So the expedited development process in Hernando County is temporarily shut down. With the DRC out of action, developers have to instead huddle with more than half a dozen separete county departments to get their approvals, rather than the coordinated DRC process. As a result of CAUSE's legal challenge of the "secret" process Commissioners were using, the county is now requiring developers to post yellow signs on land subject to development. If enough people respond to the signs by calling the County, a public hearing will be called, officials said. Ralf Brookes, attorney for CAUSE, is filing a cross appeal that says if the meetings were illegal, the building permit Wal-Mart was given by the county is also illegal. "We are coming out swinging now," Brookes told the St. Petersburg Times. "We want that building torn down." "What are they so afraid of?" Brookes asked. "It's stupid. This is the United States. Just open it (the DRC) up to the public."

What you can do: For more information on Wal-Mart's Secret Project in Spring Hill, contact attorney Ralf Brookes at http://www.ralfbrookesattorney.com. For background on this Spring Hill case, search this database by the name of the town.










 
 
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