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2006-12-03
Pullman, WA. Citizenís Legal Battle Continues Against Wal-Mart

Residents in Pullman, Washington continue to wage a legal battle to block a Wal-Mart supercenter in their community. Sprawl-Busters reported that in March of 2006, residents lost an appeal of a city ruling in favor of Wal-Mart before a Hearing Examiner, and were planning to take their appeal to Whitman County Superior Court. That court appeal went in Wal-Mart's favor as well, but the battle continues. The group sent the following press release to Sprawl-Busters this week: "The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD) announced today that they will take their case against the proposed Pullman, Washington Wal-Mart to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Spokane. The decision came after several weeks of deliberation and discussion. PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed stated that "while the appeal will be costly, we have had great support from thousands of folks in the community, and currently have a new membership drive under way. PARD will continue to make the case
that a huge supercenter on Bishop Boulevard would drastically impede access to the hospital, be dangerous for pedestrians, and negatively impact the local economy."Reed added that "a host of new and planned developments along Bishop have made the traffic situation far worse than when the store was originally proposed." In his ruling last month, Judge David Frazier praised PARD's thorough research and substantial evidence about traffic dangers and the lack of an independent analysis of the impact of the supercenter on the local economy. Christopher Lupke, the group's media coordinator, said, "PARD members feel strongly that at each level of appeal we have raised awareness of the dangers of the project, and that we owe it to our thousands of supporters to continue our work to stop the project or make it safer." "Our lawyer has devised a new legal strategy for this next level of appeal, and we are confident that we will win if the evidence is weighed carefully," Reed added. PARD member Alex Hammond remarked that it "is important to realize that nothing PARD has done puts Wal-Mart under an injunction. They could have started building months ago. That they haven't started suggests that they have understood all along that we have a strong case." Reed added that in his ruling Judge Frazier emphasized that "'zoning laws always trump comprehensive plans.' What that means for Pullman is that all the lovely sentiments in our city Comprehensive Plan are meaningless unless we enact zoning laws that actually support responsible, environmentally and economically sustainable development. Wal-Mart is just one part of a much larger problem."

What you can do: PARD argues that the information regarding the traffic impact was inadequate. The State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) states that any determination of non-significance must be based on adequate information. Second, both the SEPA and the Site Plan require that it be clearly determined that the Wal-Mart Supercenter will not have a negative fiscal impact on the city causing blight. PARD's appeal argues that the determination made was based on insufficient data as well. SEPA and the Site Plan mandate that an adequate fiscal impact analysis be conducted to determine this. For earlier stories, search by "Pullman." For local contacts, email info@sprawl-busters.com.










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

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