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2004-01-17
Florence, S.C. Citizens Win First Round in Case Against Wal-Mart

Residents in Florence, South Carolina have tasted their first victory in an on-going battle against Wal-Mart. Local residents report, "An administrative law judge has ruled in favor of a group of citizens fighting to prevent the development of Wal-Mart SuperCenter in their neighborhood in Florence. Responsible Economic Development (RED) has opposed the 49 acre shopping complex proposed for Beltline Drive across from West Florence High School due to traffic, public safety of the High School and environmental impact on the surrounding area.Wal-Mart had filed a "standing" challenge of R.E.D.'s appeal of the storm water permit for the SuperCenter project. The permit was challenged by R.E.D. in September based on their objections of polluted storm water being discharged into Jeffries Creek 1/2 mile from the project. Judge Ray Stevens ruled that R.E.D. did have "standing" in its appeal of a state Department of Health and Environmental Control permit granted to Wal-Mart. In his ruling, Stevens said: affidavits submitted by R.E.D. "establish that the stormwater discharge will adversely impact the ability of the petitioners to use the area for specific uses now being enjoyed." DHEC had approved the company's permit for stormwater, but the group appealed saying irrevocable damage would be done to Jeffries Creek. That appeal will be heard by Stevens in March. Bob Guild attorney for the group said "This is really a solid victory for us. The judge rejected Wal-Mart's claim that we didn't have standing in the appeal." RED also filed a lawsuit against Florence Planning Commission, saying it did not follow state law and local land use rules in its approval of Wal-Mart's development plans for the SuperCenter. That case is pending."

What you can do: "Standing" gives residents the right to continue making their case in court. If plaintiffs do not gain standing, they have no further access to the courts. In most states, "standing" requires plaintiffs to show that they will suffer some harm or damage beyond that of a member of the general public. Such laws tend to restrict the right of who can excercize their First Amendment right to petition government. In this case, Wal-Mart tried to knock RED out of court by claiming they did not have standing. Wal-Mart lost, so the case continues for a March hearing on the merits of the case. For local contacts, email info@sprawl-busters.com. During this appeal process, Wal-Mart is not building, and not making any sales off its proposed store in Florence.










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

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