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2004-08-07
Fulton County, GA. County Commission Rejects Wal-Mart Superstore.

Residents in Fulton County, Georgia say they have dodged the Wal-Mart bullet this week, when County officials turned down a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter. The project was proposed for Cascade Road at Research Center Atlanta Drive. The odd wrinkle here is that Wal-Mart announced one day before the County vote that it was thinking about pulling back from the project, but proceeded with their proposal full steam ahead. At the Commission meeting, the developer's attorney presented their case, and asked for the Board's approval for rezoning. As one resident told me, "I believe had we, the community, not shown up, but believed the story in the newspaper, and stayed home, the outcome may have been different. I believe the newspaper story was simply a tactic." After the vote, residents wrote to Sprawl-Busters, "We wanted to share our victory in an effort to rezone 46 acres in Southwest Fulton County for a WalMart Supercenter. The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 against the rezoning of this very sensitive area in the middle of a 100-year flood zone, among the wetlands between two state-protected blue-line tributaries, because of the negative impact on the environment, and the impact of approximately 9,500 additional vehicle trips per day for a 24-hour operation (including 18-wheelers) at the gateway into a 2 1/2-block commercial village containing an array of small retail shops supported by the community." The day before Wal-Mart was rejected, a story ran in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and elsewhere, that Wal-Mart wanted to "pull out, for now." Wal-Mart's regional "community relations manager" told the newspaper, "We took very seriously the concerns some Cascade residents expressed about various aspects of the store plans. Wal-Mart wants to develop a mutually beneficial partnership with this community, so we will use this time to re-evaluate how we can establish this relationship." But a member of the nearby Sandtown Community Association said the Wal-Mart press release was "a calculated move, which they've done in the past. The unfortunate thing is, this is another tactic just to wear down the community." The story made it clear that Wal-Mart planned to go forward with plans to build a 185,000 s.f. superstore.

What you can do: It is likely that Wal-Mart knew that it would not clear the Commission hurdle, and therefore pulled back as a way to soften the impact of losing a County vote the following day. It is also likely that the company will, in fact, return with another proposal for this site, that can be presented as more "neighborhood sensitive." Usually such "sensitivity" extends only to minor concerns, like the color of the store and where the trash dumpsters go, etc. For now, residents in Fulton County have slammed-dunked another Wal-Mart project.










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

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