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2004-11-19
Gainsville, GA. Planning Board Nixes Wal-Mart Supercenter

Wal-Mart got off on the wrong foot this week in Gainesville, Georgia. Here's a report from the front lines: "Last night Hall County, Georgia held its first public hearing for a proposed Wal-Mart. The meeting, held in Gainesville, Georgia, was a standing-room only event with over 600 local residents showing up in opposition. The proposed Wal-Mart is planned for a residential area and would be surrounded by three established neighborhoods. The Comprehensive Plan for the county designates the area for "Community Commercial," but the proposed Wal-Mart falls under a "supercenter" classification and according to the Comprehensive Plan should be located in an area designed for "Regional Retail." The 184,000 square foot store, when combined with the outdoor sales area, seasonal sales area and out parcels, encompasses over 262,000 square feet, which clearly puts it outside the limit for Community shopping. Of the 600 in attendance, no one voiced their support for the store except for the applicant himself. Concerns ranged from traffic, crime, noise, light pollution, loss of property values and unfair competition that would force many smaller stores out of business. The Planning Commission did an admirable job in allowing everyone an opportunity to speak. In the end they voted 4 - 1 to recommend "Denial." The application now goes to the County Commission, which will hold the second public hearing on Dec. 9."

What you can do: It's hard to imagine a developer so lame that in a crowd of 600 people he couldn't find one person to support his cause. The hardest part of any big box struggle is when you move from the Planning Board, which is usually an appointed board, to the elected board that makes the final decision. Residents in Gainesville will have to turn out in record numbers on December 9th, because elected officials behave differently when they know they are being watched. For local contacts in Gainesville, email info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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