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2006-02-06
Crescent City, FL. Two Counties Engage in Conflict Resolution Over Wal-Mart

Sprawl-Busters reported on January 8, 2006 that two counties in Florida were in a legal battle over a proposed Wal-Mart distribution center. The two counties are required by law to negotiate first before going to court. In this case, there is about 1.1 million square feet of difference between the two counties. Conflict resolution has begun, and here's a front lines report from citizens in Crescent City, Florida: "Back in November of 2005 it was announced that a local potato farm was selling 235 acres in the middle of their 1,100 acre potato farm to Wal-Mart so a 1,100,00 sq.ft. distribution center could be built. This DC would be 2 miles south of Crescent City and 1 mile north of the Volusia county line in Clifton Road. Clifton Road is a narrow dead end road that intersects with U.S. 17 which is only 2 lanes for 15 or so miles in each direction. Clifton Road, the 2 miles of paved section, is so narrow that 2 full sized pick-up trucks must slow and put the right side tires on the shoulder in order to pass each other. The DC is proposed for the paved section. The citizens of Crescent City, northern Volusia county and other surrounding towns are against this. At both the Zoning and Planning Commission meeting and the County Council meeting the people against out-numbered the people for by a margin of 20 to 1 or better. Still the County Council and the Zoning Board passed the proposal to allow the zoning change. The citizens of this area grouped together in a non-profit association and sued the County Council over this. Also suing was Volusia County since 60% to 80% of the traffic would use U.S. 17 in Volusia county, passing 5 schools on or near the highway. How much traffic? Wal-Mart first said there would be over 5000 trips per day (24 hours) to this DC. That includes both trucks and employee traffic. At a later meeting Wal-Mart reported there would only be 1,100 trucks per day. This did not include the proposed 600 employees traveling to and from work. The amount of traffic changes with which Wal-Mart representative is speaking at the time. Here in Florida, counties cannot sue each other without first having conflict resolution meeting. The first of these meeting was held on February 2nd of this year and both counties agreed to disagree. Another meeting is being set up for next month and Volusia county has offered to host that one since their facilities are much larger to hold a bigger audience. The main point in all of this is that there are areas already zoned for this type of industry in both Putnam County (Palatka) and in Volusia County. The problem seems to be cost of land. It has been reported that the 235 acres in the potato farm is priced at $4 million and land in those areas already zoned for heavy industry is going for $50,000 to $65,000 per acre. The infrastructure in the industrial areas is already in place for heavy truck traffic while both U.S. 17 and Clifton Road will have to be widened and Crescent City sewer and water will have to be extended 2 miles south of the city limits to serve this DC. Crescent City does need jobs for their citizens and this would fill some of the need. During the conflict resolution meeting the Director of Planning and Zoning stated that most of the employee traffic would be coming north on U.S. 17 from Volusia County. If that is the case, why not have Wal-Mart place the DC in Palatka, where zoning is already in place, and serve more of Putnam County citizens?"

What you can do: For earlier stories about Crescent City's Distribution Center woes, search this site by the name of the city. For earlier stories on how Wal-Mart angles for public welfare to help build its Distribution Center, search by "distribution center" or "corporate welfare."










 
 
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