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2006-03-23
Jacksonville, FL. Wal-Mart Loses In Court Over Comp Plan

Sprawl-Busters has not written about Jacksonville, Florida since September, 22, 2004, when we reported that Wal-Mart's plans to build a Neighborhood Market grocery store on the southside of the city had been rejected by a judge and, on appeal, by Governor Jeb Bush and his cabinet. But Wal-Mart did not stop pushing, ignoring their Founder's promise "not to create a fuss" in a community that doesn't want you. Now Sprawl-Busters has learned that Wal-Mart's appeal to the Court of Appeals also has been struck down. Here's the report we received today from citizens in Jacksonville: "The First District Court of Appeals has upheld the lower appellate court's decision in our favor. This decision prohibits any further appeal of the case. Of course, there may still be other avenues Wal-Mart and the City will pursue to build this store, but that remains to be seen. Wal-Mart has definitely been handed a significant loss at this stage, and we should be happy about that." According to The Florida Times-Union, this decision ends a three year battle. The First District Court of Appeal unanimously upheld a state administrative judge's ruling that a 40,000 s.f. grocery store did not fit in with Jacksonville's comprehensive plan. Robert Gardner Jr., an attorney who lives across the street from the project told the newspaper, "We were going to be impacted big-time by it." Sidney Ansbacher, attorney for the neighbors, said Wal-Mart has run out of appeals for this store, but could do other things with the property. "It is a major defeat for Wal-Mart, but all Wal-Mart has to do is win once. We have to win every time." Wal-Mart's attorney said the legal challenge was over, but said the company has not given up on plans for the grocery store. He said Wal-Mart could sell the land to a developer for apartments or condominiums. Three years ago, the Jacksonville City Council voted 13-2 to allow Wal-Mart to build a Neighborhood Market. But residents sued the city and Wal-Mart, and the state Division of Administrative Hearings ruled in their favor. Governor Jeb Bush and the state Cabinet upheld the division's decision. City Councilwoman Lynette Self said the court ruling this week was "a great victory for the people. They say you can't fight City Hall and win, but I think they did."

What you can do: Residents in Jacksonville were told that Wal-Mart was a done deal. But they refused to accept that, filed their lawsuit against the city's action, and won on the grounds that this plan was not consistent with the city's comprehensive plan. Jacksonville zoning would have allowed the developer to build apartments on the site, but a Wal-Mart was not an appropriate use in this residential neighborhood. For earlier stories about this case, search Newsflash by "Jacksonville."










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

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