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2004-09-28
Urbana, IL. Local Property Owners Continue Court Battle to Stop Wal-Mart

It's getting harder and harder to build those Wal-Mart supercenters. Consider the case of Urbana, Illinois. We first wrote about Urbana in January, 2004, when neighbors turned out in large quantities to oppose a Wal-Mart supercneter plan. Now the News-Gazette reports that two landowners near the proposed project are ready to appeal a decision made in July by a County Circuit Judge paved the way for the retailer. The Davids ready to do legal battle with Goliath, are Dr. Robert Brunner and Cecilia Allen, who will appeal to the Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield the July 23rd decision by Circuit Judge Heidi Ladd, which accepted the Wal-Mart drainage plan for the site. "We think we are right," Brunner told the News-Gazette. "When you think you are right, just because one individual, a judge, says it's the right decision for the area, doesn't mean we have to agree." Brunner owns farmland east of the Wal-Mart site. He says his land already floods during rain storms. "It's hard to believe 30 acres of asphalt and steel won't increase the water runoff," he explaind. The Circuit Court judge ruled in July that a part of the old drainage tile running through the Wal-Mart site could be replaced with new drainage tile running around the northern edge of the property. "The appeal process is really the only route my clients have to protect their property rights," the lawyer for the plaintiffs said. "We've exhausted what we can do at the trial court. For whatever reason, the judge evidently doesn't believe the evidence supports our position (that) the project is going to increase the flooding on Dr. Brunner's and Cecilia Allen's property."

What you can do: So the months will drag on. Wal-Mart will have to wait much longer than they hoped to make any progress in Urbana. Whatever plans Wal-Mart had to get into the ground are now, yet again, put on hold. All across the country, local residents are getting more aggressive to "protect their property rights." Our earlier story on Urbana explained how the city sold out homeowners by rezoning this land for large scale commercial development. Despite significant public opposition, the city approved the plans, and left landowners with no recourse but to go to court -- an option that they learned at the feet of Wal-Mart.










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

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