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2006-01-20
Nashua, NH. Wal-Mart Plan Rejected.

Chalk up another victory against unbridled sprawl. The Nashua Planning Board voted 4-3 last night to live free or die without Wal-Mart. The retailer wanted to build a 140,000 s.f. superstore at the site of an old Building 19 store. But after an hour and a half of discussion, the Planning Board sent Wal-Mart packing, to the sustained applause of more than 100 area opponents. Traffic was the key issue in Nashua, the Planning Board members challenging the developer's traffic study. According to the Nashua Telegraph, one Board member said Wal-Mart's $2 million plan to widen a street was inconsistent with the city's master plan for the road. The councilman who made the motion to reject the project complained that the traffic generated by the superstore would be intolerable. Wal-Mart's lawyer tried to delay the proceedings, arguing that Wal-Mart needed more time to address traffic concerns raised by the Planning Board. "This is has been a long road to get here,'' Wal-Mart's lawyer told the Board, "and we don't see any reason to rush this issue.''But Jed Callen, a lawyer for Citizens Action of Southern New Hampshire, which has opposed the project for at least a year, said, "The process can go on literally indefinitely, and that is not fair to the public who has to attend meeting after meeting. It is a travesty to prolong this."

What you can do: Wal-Mart now can take their case to the Hillsborough County Superior Court, but they will have to prove that the Planning Board decision was arbitrary and capricious. The courts don't like to substitute their judgement for that of local officials interpreting their own ordinance. So Wal-Mart can sue and cost taxpayers money, but they are not likely to prevail. As the citizens lawyer told the Nashua Telegraph, "I'm not worried about it. The board's decision was based on facts.''










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

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