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2005-09-20
Fairhope, AL. Citizens Want To Annex Land To Block Wal-Mart

It doesn't take much these days to get citizens upset about a Wal-Mart superstore. Sprawl-Busters recently received this account of another battle brewing in the deep south: "A rumor started about three weeks ago that Wal-Mart purchased a huge parcel
of land just outside the city limits of Fairhope, Alabama. I immediately wrote a letter to the editor and with friends started a petition. We were able to get TV news and newspaper coverage that has helped get people out to sign the petition to stop this. A spokesman for Wal-Mart denied "any immediate plans to open in Fairhope." We know it is just a matter of time though so we are in the process now to try and expand the city limits and annex this parcel into the city limits - something that should have been done years ago. This will enable the city to enforce the building limits that we have in place within the city limits. We have organized a committee over the last the last few weeks. Our City Council is basically saying they have no control. Here is my letter to the City Council: Dear City Council Board Members, As you know, I have been organizing an anti-Wal-Mart campaign for the last two weeks. We have formed a committee, A Fair Hope of Success, taken from a quote from our Founding Fathers. We are prepared (along with the over 1,000 voters who have signed our petition) to fight any big box store that tries to move into the Fairhope area and threaten the quality of life we've worked very hard to establish. A big box store like Wal-Mart opening in Fairhope would have significant economic impacts on our downtown among many other negative effects My husband and I have invested our life savings and life into our business along with many other people in downtown. We moved back to Fairhope in 1997 because we wanted to
raise our kids in this community -- not one like Daphne or god forbid Mobile. Understand, I do not oppose growth, as a business owner I welcome it. I just want it to be appropriately planned growth. The last thing the Council should do is use this development outside our city limits as an excuse to not take action. We have needed to expand our city limits for years and now is the time to do so. Although the papers have interviewed a spokesperson with Wal-Mart that denies that they do not have "immediate plans to open in Fairhope", rest assured they will try soon. I feel the City Council needs to take this time to expand our city limits. This will enable the city to set size limits and any development that comes into our area will have to have the green light from the city in accordance with the positive growth we require. It's as simple as that. I would like to hear from you stating whether or not you are for, against or indifferent about this development so we will know who is willing to help our efforts. There are over 3,700 Wal-Marts in America and only one Fairhope. When our founding fathers created Fairhope as a utopian model, I don't think they envisioned a place like Wal-Mart being a part of this. I encourage you to read this page: www.sprawl-busters.com/caseagainstsprawl.html I look forward to hearing from you."

What you can do: To be safe, the residents of Fairhope need to work with county officials where this property is located, while they are pursuing the somewhat involved political process of annexing land. Pressure should be brought to bear on the county to adopt the same size limits in effect in Fairhope. The residents of Fairhope believe they have a fair hope of success over Wal-Mart. To learn more about this Alabama community from local contacts, emal info@sprawl-busters.com.










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

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