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1999-06-15
Tijeras, NM. Small Town Beats Big Store

It took two years for the small communities of the Eastern Mountain region to stop Wal-Mart, but the big company never had a chance against these New Mexican activists. Wal-Mart never even reached the stage of site plan review in the tiny town of Tijeras, NM, just a few miles east of Albuquerque. In July of 1997 it became clear that Wal-Mart wanted to put a 155,000 s.f. supercenter in this town of 310 residents. As far as we know that's the largest proposal in the smallest town in Wal-Mart's cross-hairs. But focused opposition mounted immediately, led by the East Mountain Legal Defense Fund. At a stormy hearing in Tijeras Town Hall, opponents of the project stood out in the rain shouting: "One, two, three, four, we don't want your lousy store." It was the further Wal-Mart ever got. The Mayor of Albuquerque said he would oppose hooking the Wal-Mart up to his city's water and sewer lines. The Bernalillo County government threateded to sue the Tijeras Village Council if the project was approved, and an East Mountain Citizens Against Wal-Mart kept the temperature too hot for even the Arkansas-based retailer. Earlier this week, the lawyer for the owners of the property Wal-Mart coveted announced that the company had ended its contract with the landowners. "Because of all the problems with the neighbors, Wal-Mart elected not to do it," the lawyer said. Wal-Mart spokesperson Daphne Davis confirmed to the Albuquerque Journal that her company was history in Tijeras. She said it was rare for Wal-Mart to back off. According to landowners, Wal-Mart spent $300,000 on studies and consultants to develop the property. There are already more than a handful of Wal-Mart stores within 20 miles of the Tijeras location, including several big box stores in Albuquerque. "We can go back to our real lives", said Kathy McCoy of the East Mountain Neighborhood Defense Fund.

What you can do: For further information about the Tijeras battle, contact sprawl-busters. On September 14, 1998, the Tijeras Village Council voted to adopt an amended zoning ordinance to prevent future commercial development of the proportions of a Wal-Mart supercenter.










 
 
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