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2005-04-09
Lockport, IL. Wal-Mart Doesn't Like "Go Dark" Provision

Local residents in Lockport, Illinois have spent as much as $45,000 in legal bills fighting a Wal-Mart supercenter in their community, and all they got out of the City Council was a few minor conditions placed on Wal-Mart's approval. But there's one clause that caught Wal-Mart off-guard. The city council was ready to vote the supercenter proposal through, but now plans are on hold while Wal-Mart decides what to do about a provision that requires the company to give the store back to the city if it sits vacant for seven years after the retailer abandons it. The other conditions placed on the project by the city were all minor to Wal-Mart: no gun sales; the elimination of a proposed Wal-Mart gas station; better landscaping and berming;$300,000 in "financial contributions" including money for several local schools. The council even agreed to allow the 147,000 s.f. store to be expanded to a 203,000 s.f. superstore in the future. But, according to the Chicago Tribune, Wal-Mart balked at the idea of a "go dark" clause that would sell the land and building back to the city if it were to close and not be occupied within seven years. Alderman. Dev Trivedi told reporters that the "go dark" clause was important to him to protect the residents and the community. The city council will take a final vote on the project April 20th.

What you can do: For examples of zoning codes that have 'demolition bond' requirements, write to info@sprawl-busters.com. With 356 dead stores on the market, and at least 52 million square feet of empty buildings and parking lots, Wal-Mart has begun to worry communities about the blight caused by Wal-Mart's premature departure from its buildings. Courts in several jurisdictions have cited such blight as a legitimate public welfare issue that can be raised during zoning hearings.










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

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