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2005-09-12
Mahoning, PA. Residents Sue Town Over Location Of Wal-Mart Access Road

Wal-Mart's lawyers like to spread the word that the retailer's projects are a "done deal," but for the residents of Mahoning township, local officials may be "done", but the "deal" is far from over. The Morning Call newspaper reports this week that Wal-Mart opponents in Mahoning have filed an appeal against the Zoning Board's decision to approve a 203,000 s.f. supercenter on Route 443. The board gave Wal-Mart a variance to build a driveway to the store closer than the required 2,500 feet from the nearest intersection. Four Mahoning residents are asking the court overturn the township's decision to let Wal-Mart put in their access drive only 325 feet from the new intersection near the store. The Plaintiffs argue that Wal-Mart doesn't want to relocate the access drive because they don't to build through two lots at the north side of the property, where a gas station and restaurant are planned. The Wal-Mart property only has 1,600 feet of road frontage, so developers can't possibly meet the 2,500-foot requirement. The Plaintiffs argue that the "law requires that when you go for a variance, you obtain the minimum variance necessary to afford relief." All the plaintiffs own property bordering the proposed location.

What you can do: In all likelihood, this dispute will be settled out of court. Wal-Mart will either move its road fully or partially to satisfy the abuttors. But this is the kind of dispute that did not need to happen in the first place. If developers would sit down with neighbors and try to accommodate them, these court actions would not happen. The larger picture, of why Mahoning gave Wal-Mart permission to build in the first place, is far more important than the issue of where the driveway goes. Residents may win their driveway dispute, but the store's overall impact will prove to be far greater than the access road.










 
 
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