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1999-08-27
Manhattan, KS. Little Apple Bites Wal-Mart

It appears that Wal-Mart will not get a second bite out of the Apple -- at least not in the Little Apple of Manhattan, Kansas. There is already one Wal-Mart in Manhattan (pop est. 45,000), but on August 26th the Commissioners voted unanimously (5-0) to turn down Wal-Mart's rezoning request. According to sprawl-busters at the meeting, the proposal had already been approved by the city's planning staff and the Planning Board. But the City Commissioners opposed the plan on at least three major grounds: 1) adverse traffic impacts on the area and poor traffic circulation 2) an inadequate plan for storm water management and 3) the regional nature of the store, which goes against the intent of the City's Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Wal-Mart's proposal called for a 150,000 s.f. superstore. The project was bitterly opposed by the Arbor Heights/Warner Park Neighborhood Association. The manager of one local store told the audience: "I'll be up front with you. I have absolutely no respect for these (Wal-Mart) people." Pointing to the manager of the JC Penney store he added: "I play golf with this gentleman every week. We are competitors, but he is not my enemy. I'm not out to annihilate him." After the 1 am conclusion of the meeting, the Mayor of Manhattan reportedly told Wal-Mart officials that he was put off by their inability to create a three dimensional model of the store to help people visualize its impact. Company officials told the Mayor this would cost $10,000 to make. The Mayor responded: "Maybe you better go back and tell your people in Bentonville that their denial for a model cost them my vote in Manhattan, Kansas." One sprawl-buster summed it up this way: "It took nearly an entire year, thousands of hours of hard work -- making phone calls, writing presentations, economic research, doing power point slides, holding dozens of meetings, talking to the press and holding fund raisers -- but for the citizens of Manhattan, it was well worth it. Everyone here is breathing a big sigh of relief." Everyone, that is, except the people at Wal-Mart.

What you can do: Manahattan was the second victory in one week against Wal-Mart. For further details of the Manhattan success, contact info@sprawl-busters.com.










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

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