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2004-08-12
Centerville, UT. Wal-Mart Loses Permit on Tie Vote.

The headline in today's Deseret, Utah Morning News says it all: Centerville Says No to Wal-Mart. According to the newspaper, the city's Planning Commission rejected a conditional use permit Wednesday night, when the commission voted 3-3 on a proposal for a 200,000 s.f. supercenter. Before opponents crack open the champagne, however, the City Council still has the final say. The tie vote came after nearly 90 minutes of discussion among the members, some of whom referred several times to the desire of residents to keep the city as a small bedroom community to Salt Lake City. The citizen's group, Centerville Citizens First, had conducted a public opinion survey (see earlier story) demonstrating strong community opposition to a Wal-Mart superstore, especially at the gateway to the city. The commission voted down the conditional-use permit 4-2, then denied the conceptual subdivision and conceptual site plans for the 22.5-acre site along Parrish Lane by the same margin. Wal-Mart now has two weeks to appeal the decision of the Planning Commission to the city's Board of Adjustments and the City Council.The Planning Commission vote went against an earlier recommendation by the city's Community Development director, who favored the Wal-Mart. The Development director testified in support of the Wal-Mart at last night's hearing.
"We believe the evidence has been presented that lends credence to the approval of the applications," he said. But the Commission voted to deny the conditional-use permit based on traffic impacts, economic studies, and the effect the big-box retailer will have on the community, the News reported. "We know this land will be developed, but we can achieve orderly development without the impact this development brings," one Commissioner told the audience. The superstore proposal, which abuts a residential development of retiree housing, was called "not workable" by the Commission. Resident George Fisher, one of the leaders of the citizen's group, circulated a letter to the audience before the meeting listing a dozen concerns over the project's impact. Fisher said last night the group was elated that the Commissioners had "seen the light" to stop the unpopular project. According to an economic impact study commissioned by the city, the Wal-Mart project would have had a major impact on existing grocery stores in the area.

What you can do: Centerville Citizens First said it is ready to fight the Wal-Mart proposal further if the company choses to defy the vote of the Planning Commission. For previous stories on this battle, search this database by "Centerville." Wal-Mart will have to demonstrate that the ruling of the Planning Commission was arbitrary and capricious.










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

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