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2006-02-12
Cornelius, OR. City Gives Wal-Mart Zoning Delicatessen

Sprawl-Busters reported last August that Wal-Mart, fresh on the heels of a loss in Hillsboro, Oregon, was seeking to build a store in nearby Cornelius. The retailer set its sites on 16 acres of land on the western edge of town for a 205,000-square-foot supercenter. Wal-Mart hearings began in December, and according to The Argus newspaper, the debate could stretch into the summer. The Cornelius City Council by one vote approved a comprehensive land use plan amendment. The citizens group, Cornelius First, can appeal that zoning map amendment to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) by February 28th. "We are looking into the possibility of an appeal to LUBA for both the comp plan and zone amendment. Whether or not we move forward with that remains to be seen. We will meet next week to discuss as a group and make a decision." Traffic is a major concern at the site. Wal-Mart's developer has estimated less than 6,800 car trips to the store, which is clearly a self-serving figure in the absence of a independent study. Wal-Mart has offered about 10% of the funding needed to improve the intersection near its proposed store, but state taxpayers would have to foot the balance of at least $1 million. One opponent told The Argus, "It appears to me the Cornelius mayor is on the fast track for approval. I don't think he takes into account Wal-Mart's potential negative impacts on his community."

What you can do: Cornelius is changing its zoning and land use plan for one developer, in this case, PACLand, which is proposing the Wal-Mart. Once a city starts changing its zoning for one specific developer, then it has no zoning left. If developers can get map amendments in this fashion, then Cornelius is running a zoning delicatessen: pick a number and wait to be called. To make matters worse, the plan also involves corporate welfare for Wal-Mart in the form of road improvements subsidized by Oregon taxpayers. The road get improved for Wal-Mart, which then turns around and puts other stores in Corneliius out of business. For earlier stories about this community, search Newsflash by "Cornelius."










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

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