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2005-01-14
Helotes, TX. Officials Put Moratorium on Wal-Mart Plans

It may be warm in Texas hill country, but Wal-Mart officials got the cold shoulder this week, as city officials in Helotes, Texas put the retailer's plans for a superstore temporarily on ice. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the City Council voted to impose a moratorium on a proposed superstore to give the city time to have a traffic study conducted. The site, along the Scenic Loop Road, has stimulated strong opposition in this community. More than 300 people came to a special meeting called by the Council, and most of them were against Wal-Mart's plans. "You have to realize that a lot of animosity out here from citizens of Helotes is we just don't want Wal-Mart out here," said Jon Allan, of the Helotes Heritage Association. After the public testimony was taken, the City Council went into executive session for an hour and a half before coming back out and ordering the moratorium. Wal-Mart presented residents with a slide show called "A New Wal-Mart Custom Fit For Your Neighborhood." But residents didn't want to try it on for size. Instead, more than 3,000 Helotes residents have signed petitions opposing the Wal-Mart, custom fit or not. Residents complained about impact on the local environment, pollution runoff into the Helotes Creek and Edwards Aquifer and traffic problems. The Express-News says that two other groups joined the Associaton, the Save Our Springs Alliance of Austin and the Aquifer Guardians of Urban Areas. The groups filed a notice of intent to sue in federal court against Helotes officials. This same alliance is credited with stopping a Wal-Mart two years ago in Austin. Citizens have the right to file an "intent to sue" under provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act.

What you can do: For an earlier story on Helotes, Texas, search this Newsflash page by the name of the city. The moratorium in Helotes is just a pause in the action, but citizen anger has clearly had an initial impact on city officials.










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

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