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1999-02-19
Stratham, NH. Homework for Wal-Mart

A New York Times reporter (2/16/99) has proclaimed that "Wal-Mart is no longer treated as an invader" in New England, but nearly 400 residents of Stratham, New Hampshire were on hand at a public meeting this week with anything but a warm greeting to the Walmartians. According to newspaper accounts locally, Wal-Mart was sent home by the Stratham Planning Board with a pile of homework to do. In a unanimous vote, the Planning Board "derailed" Wal-Mart's plans for a 200,000 s.f. supercenter on Portsmouth Avenue by refusing to accept its application. The plan was labeled "hopelessly incomplete". Reporter Susan Nolan wrote that "Planning Board member Lisa Ham shot so many holes in the national discount retailer's proposed plan that by the time she was done, it was all over but the shouting." But Wal-Mart will definitely be back on March 31st with a revised plan. "Too much of their plan was incomplete," said the Planning Board chairman. "I think they realize they have to go home and do their homework." More importantly, he added: "I'm sure the next time they come they'll have their i's dotted and their t's crossed". Local officials said the anti-Wal-Mart crowd was the largest seen in the Municipal Center in recent memory. There were not enough chairs in the room to go around. The turnout was larger than a typical town meeting, and ran until 11 pm. Of the 35 or 40 people who spoke, only 4 or 5 were in favor of Wal-Mart. Score one against the "invaders".

What you can do: The NY Times declares the "uproar" in New England is not like it was earlier in the decade. On February 17th. in Stratham, the turnout was the largest in recent memory. However, Wal-Mart presentations often start off this way -- the local officials scolding them for lack for details. Wal-Mart then comes back in with their traffic engineer, lawyer, hydrogeologist, etc. and tries to make points. For more info on the Stratham case, or to offer your support of time or money, contact John Hannah at 603-778-7635, or contact sprawl-busters at this website. The citizens of Stratham are prepared to do their homework also, and are expected to be back in force on March 31st.










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

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