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2007-03-04
Ballston, NY. Wal-Mart, Landowner Lose Court Case To Build Supercenter

A New York state Supreme Court Judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by Wal-Mart and landowners in Ballston, New York. The landowner sued the town when local officials turned down their Wal-Mart supercenter proposal for land along routes 50 and 67. The Albany Times-Union reports that Supreme Court Justice Frank. B. Williams ruled last Thursday that lawyers for the landowners never filed a petition against the town for failure to enact new zoning consistent with their plans for the big-box store. The landowners claimed that a "secret meeting" was held by the Town Council on May 15, 2006 to discuss the Wal-Mart supercenter. During the trial, Wal-Mart's lawyer submitted into evidence a copy of a page from Councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes' personal schedule book, which had a meeting marked on that day. Wal-Mart said the page was given to them by an anonymous source. The Judge said such evidence was ``unsubstantiated'' and had no bearing in the ruling. The Judge said the landowners had no basis to sue the town, but that Wal-Mart did have a right to sue -- however the time to bring a lawsuit forward had run out. After the ruling, the landowner told the newspaper, "It's absolute garbage. He's way off the mark." The landowner threatened to appeal the decision. According to the Times-Union, this landowner has sued the town three times, and has lost each time in court. The Ballston Town Council unanimously voted against the proposed 203,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter in August, 2006. The town's lawyer responded to this week's decision by saying, "I am -- and the town is -- certainly gratified by the court's decision. This is vindication of a careful planning process."

What you can do: The landowners can keep on litigating, but it appears that all the citizen organizing, and all the time spent bringing in expert testimony to the Town Council paid off. The group Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth, put in months of hard work to reach this conclusion. In August, when the town council voted to reject the supercenter, Town Councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes was quoted by the Times-Union as saying, "I urge my fellow board members to join me tonight in sending an unambiguous message that, as far as the town of Ballston is concerned, the door will be closed to Wal-Mart and big-box development once and for all." This week, the door was shut even tighter. For earlier stories, search Newsflash by "Ballston."










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

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