Jacksonville, FL. Governor Bush Rejects Wal-Mart Plans
Wal-Mart has run out of running room in Jacksonville, Florida. Residents on the southside of the city have handed Wal-Mart another defeat -- but this one had to go all the way to the Governor's office. This week Governor Jeb Bush and his cabinet voted to support the decision of a Florida Administrative
Judge, who ruled that a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on 8.5 acres of land did not meet Jacksonville zoning requirements. Wal-Mart had proposed building the 40,000 s.f. store, but now they have to decide within 30 days whether to appeal Bush's decision to the First District Court of Appeals. "We're certainly disappointed with the decision as it completely undermines the overwhelming support we had from both the City Council and the community for this project," Wal-Mart's lawyer told the Jacksonville Times.
But neighbors of the Neighborhood Market fought the store vigorously, and were thrilled by the court's ruling, and by the Governor's support. Last November,the City Council voted 13-2 in favor of the development, but neighbors
appealed and the issue has been on appeal in the courts since then. "Not only does it not fit, we don't need it," said Attorney Robert P. Gardner Jr., who lives across from the proposed site and helped prepare the neighbor's legal case. Jacksonville City Councilor
Suzanne Jenkins, whose district includes part of the neighborhood affected, supported the Wal-Mart, and even traveled to Tallahassee this week to speak in favor of the project.
Jacksonville zoning would have allowed the developer to build apartments on the site, but a Wal-Mart was not an appropriate use in this residential neighborhood.
What you can do: Gardner has told Sprawl-Busters that neighbors are prepared to fight this Wal-Mart project until the bitter end. As of today, it's Wal-Mart that got the bitter end of the deal. For local contacts in Jacksonville, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.