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2004-01-24
Manatee County, FL. Residents Celebrate Unanimous Wal-Mart Defeat

Homeowners in Manatee County, Florida are celebrating a hard-fought year-long victory, as another Wal-Mart superstore has been slam-dunked by local activists. A powerful developer, Benderson Development, also went down for the count. The County Commission voted January 22nd. unanimously against letting Wal-Mart build a 200,000 s.f store next to the University Park neighborhood. More than 400 residents exploded into cheers, according to the Herald-Tribune newspaper, after commissioners made their 7-0 vote against Wal-Mart. The defeat was also witnessed by 100 Wal-Mart employees who had been paid by their employer to attend the hearing. The Manatee County Commissioners' vote affirmed the earlier recommendation of the Manatee Planning Commission's 5-2 vote against the supercenter at the corner of University Parkway and Honore Avenue. Commissioners said the research done by University Park residents influenced their vote. "The more information that is expressed to us, the better," Commissioner Ron Getman told the Herald-Tribune. "I think it shows their commitment to their cause."
The University Park residents decided to incorporate their group as the Safe and Economically Viable Neighborhoods Inc. and collecting petitions and raised money to hire a land-use attorney and a traffic engineer. "One of the things that the group like us has done is we have provided facts, said activist Jarvis Lynch. "We have provided information that may not have come to light." A Wal-Mart spokesperson suggested that Wal-Mart may try again to build their store. "We're certainly disappointed," she said. "It's our intent to see this property developed as a Wal-Mart Supercenter." Wal-Mart had been gathering signatures to support the University Park supercenter, and actually purchased the land. Wal-Mart has a month to appeal the Commissioners' decision.









What you can do: The Herald-Tribune pointed out that the University Park residents were "not the first to fight the discount giant. Throughout the nation, communities are collectively gathering their resources and fighting the biggest discount-shopping corporation in the United States." The media is finally beginning to see the nationwide effort to stop superstore sprawl.










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

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