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2003-04-19
Henderson, KY. Wal-Mart is back two years after rejection

Roughly two and a half years after being rejected, Wal-Mart has returned to a heavily residential neighborhood in Henderson, Kentucky, to push its project a second time around. Local residents, still organized as Henderson First, have vowed to fight the project once again, incredulous that the develper is trying to force the door open on the same 55 acre parcel of land on Route 60 east. According to a report in The Gleaner newspaper, the Henderson Planning Commission is reviewing transcripts of hearings before making a decision in early May. GBT Realty of Brentwood, Tennessee is trying to overcome the rejection in 2000, which led to a lawsuit against the city, which went against the developer. "I think it was handled wrong in the past, and I apologize," the developer said. GBT is trying to present a friendlier face to the city this time. Wal-Mart engineers came in with plans "and said here it is." But now, GBT has paid more attention to local officials and tried to "work it through with the city." The developer submitted a new traffic study (produced by its own consultant), and the Evansville Urban Transportation Study, which does traffic planning for the city, raised no objection to the results along the two lane Route 60 roadway. The developer says the EUTS and the Kentucky Highway Department have both approved the traffic plan. But members of Henderson First don't believe this plan is any different than the one they rejected back in October of 2000. "The picture I envision is bumper cars in an amusement park," Mark Hughes, president of Henderson First, told the newspaper. Neighbors are concerned about traffic at a nearby cloverleaf which the state says it will eventually widen. One engineer who lives in the abutting Balmoral housing subdivision, said that "no detailed work has been done on plans for that interchange. It may be 10 or even 15 years" before it is widened. "Do we want to live with a traffic problem at this location for the next 15 years?" Henderson First has pointed out that once again the project is jammed up too closely to Balmoral. "There is no effective buffer for the residents of Balmoral subdivision," he said.

What you can do: Henderson First says a change in government has led to local officials more compliant with big box retailers. They say that nothing has really changed with the second application, except that local officials seem inclined to give the developer what he wants, and leave hundreds of homeowners with Wal-Mart as a night light. This raises concerns about property value impact, which the city does not seem to care about. For more history on Henderson, search the Newsflash page by the city's name.










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

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