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2004-08-02
Mission, KS. Residents Begin "Mission" to Stop Wal-Mart Supercenter

Residents in Mission, Kansas have set out upon a new "mission" to stop Wal-Mart in their community. Here's a report that came in this week from the heartland: "Mission is a 50-year old suburb of Kansas City with a population of 8,000 in the "old," totally developed northeast corner of Johnson County, Kansas. Several weeks ago, Wal-Mart announced it was planning to buy our enclosed mall -- small by mall standards -- tear it down & build a supercenter. The new store would replace a 'regular' Wal-Mart located less than a mile away in the adjoining suburb of Roeland Park. The Mission scheme flies in the face of the city's comprehensive plan and would sink the city's newly adopted "Design Guidelines for the Johnson Drive Corridor," a plan to enhance the area that is home to most of our town's small businesses. About 1,000 Mission residents and/or small business owners have signed a petition and presented it to the mayor; at this point, the petition served only to notify the city council that opposition exists. So far, Wal-Mart officials have met privately one time with city officials, and reports indicate Wal-Mart divulged no information, just asked detailed questions about site planning, flood control projects, etc. Wal-Mart has hired a local lawyer who obtained a copy of the petition and has begun to contact individual signers. He also told one of the petition organizers that Wal-Mart wanted to have a meeting with opponents to 'see what Wal-Mart could do to satisfy our concerns.' City officials have given no indication of their stance, and city employees have been told they cannot discuss the issue with citizens.

What you can do: Wal-Mart, developers, and local officials often agree to a "code of silence" about developments that are supposedly in the public interest. This "we know what's best for you" attitude allows developers to use local officials for months, lining up their ducks, while local residents are completely unaware of what is going on. It's as if local government went into "executive session" for months, giving out information, making commitments to developers -- all without the consent of the governed. That's the "mission" that's going on in Mission, Kansas. It's no secret, however, that citizens know this project does not conform with the city's land use plan for the corridor, and they intend to make Wal-Mart fit the plan, rather than the plan fit Wal-Mart. The nearby Wal-Mart in Roeland Park can be converted into a museum of bad land use decisions. When Wal-Mart meets with local residents in Mission, it will be to talk about what color the building will be, where to place the dumpsters, etc. Nothing of real content. They will be told this will be a "special" Wal-Mart -- one of the nicest in the country. For local contacts in Mission, email info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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