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2006-10-09
Kilbuck, PA. Landslide Buries Wal-Mart Project In Delays

On September 20, 2006, Sprawl-Busters reported that two rockslides had shut down further work on a Wal-Mart supercenter in Kilbuck township, Pennsylvania. Residents in Kilbuck submitted the following update today: "If construction of the landslide-plagued Wal-Mart Supercenter in Kilbuck is to proceed, the developer likely will have to get new state permits, a process that could take six months to a year. State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty said that because of the massive landslide on Sept. 19, the developer, ASC Development will not be allowed "pick up where it left off." In addition, an 18 member bipartisan committee of state lawmakers charged with reviewing the state's worst environmental problems said last week it would probe the causes of the Wal-Mart landslide and hold hearings within the next month The landslide dumped 500,000 cubic yards of earth, closed Route 65 for nearly two weeks and closed all three main line east-west tracks of the Norfolk Southern Railway for several days. The cause has not been officially determined, but independent experts said the Wal-Mart mall was being built on extremely steep landslide-prone slopes. Communities First!, a citizens group formed to oppose the development, sued the township four years ago over this very issue and was rejected by the court, not on the merits of the case, but because the group did not have a "sufficiently compelling interest" and therefore it did not meet the state's rigorously narrow definition of standing. Bob Keir, Co-Chair of Communities First! said:" I guess the 400 members of our group, 22,000 commuters and the railroad will now hopefully have standing. But I am getting tired of saying I told you so. This is the time for officials to take decisive action, revoke all permits and send this mall the way of the dinosaur."

What you can do: Over the years, developers have succeeded in getting states to adopt very narrow law regarding who has "standing" in court to appeal a land use project. Generally speaking, abuttors, or abuttors to abuttors, are viewed as the only individuals who have the right to take a case to court. Some states are more lenient than others. Citizens groups considering an appeal of a big box store should consult with a land use attorney early on to determine who can be a plaintiff in an appeal. For earlier stories on the battle over Kilbuck, and the rubble that has left Wal-Mart trying to pick up the pieces, search Newsflash by "Kilbuck."










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

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