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2006-02-02
Windsor, PA. Judge Rules Against Wal-Mart In Loading Docks Case

Residents in Windsor Township, Pennsylvania didn't like the idea of a 197,000 s.f. Wal-Mart superstore with 7 loading docks facing their homes, so they took their town to court -- and won. A group called the "Citizens for Responsible Development" filed this update after their court victory: "The Windsor Township zoning board passed a special exception in favor of Wal-Mart, even though the Zoning ordinance specifically states that loading areas cannot be on the side of a building facing a residential zone. Wal-Mart said that their docks don't face a residential area because the actual dock doors were on little wings facing each other. Even though the garage doors faced each other, the dock driveways, truck turning area, and loading activities were taking place next to a residential zone. Citizens For Responsible Development filed an Appeal to the York County Court of Common Pleas and Judge Kennedy ruled to overturn the Zoning board's special exception. The Judge decided that the zoning board "abused its discretion" in granting approval to wal-mart. Wal- Mart has 30 days to appeal and they have a week left!" Judge Kennedy ruled that the township zoning board shouldn't have granted the special exception. He said that the location of Wal-Mart's seven loading docks violated the zoning ordinance, which was written "to protect neighboring citizens from the effects of light, noise, exhaust, vibration and general disturbance associated with retail loading and unloading operations." The lawyer for the Citizen's group said the Wal-Mart project was "dead in the water at this point."

What you can do: Wal-Mart will have to decide to appeal by next week. The retailer had its day in court, and lost. Any further legal action on their part will be simply dilatory, and reflect poorly on the company. The issue was fairly presented to the court, and Wal-Mart had its attorneys try to convince the court that their loading docks were not in violation of the zoning code. But that contention turned out to be a load itself. If Wal-Mart appeals now, it will be seen as pure vindictiveness against a neighborhood that had the nerve to challenge their proposal -- and win. For local contacts in Windsor, email info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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