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2000-04-02
Clemson, S.C. Use "All Means" to Keep out Wal-Mart

When we last checked in on Clemson, South Carolina (see 1/27/00 Newsflash below) the land-owner promoting a 204,000 Wal-Mart supercenter was boasting that the store was "going to be built regardless" of a negative vote from the Clemson Planning Commission. The PC ruled that the location on the Issaqueena Trail and Route 123 was incompatible with the city's Comprehensive Plan. Most of the property Wal-Mart wants is in Pickens County, and in late March the County Council voted to condemn the small piece of land that lies in the city of Clemson on the pretext of a "public use". It would be one thing if Pickens County was condemning the land for a Courthouse or a real civic purpose -- but to pave the way for a discount/grocery store? The Clemson City Council responded quickly on March 27th. by unanimously approving the following motion offered by Council member Nancy Bennett: "Motion that City Council and City Attorney research all possible means to prevent Wal-Mart from locating on Issaqueena Trail, including possible condemnation of city land." Councilor Bennett later told the Anderson Independent that the location chosen by Wal-Mart was "unacceptable". "This is not going to be an attractive entrance to the city," she said. Bennett's motion encouraged the company to look at two other locations, one of which is an existing shopping center. Clemson Mayor Larry Abernathy has wasted few words in making it clear to Wal-Mart how he feels about this project. According to the Daily Messenger, Abernathy told residents he was happy with the City Council's vote, but felt that offering them other sites to explore dismayed him "because personally he would rather not see Wal-Mart come to Clemson at all." The Mayor says he is fighting for the autonomy of the city in zoning matters.

What you can do: Wal-Mart's proposal for a supercenter in Clemson has led to a legal battle of county vs. city, as both sides rush to condemn pieces of the property involved. The county wants to push the store despite city objection, and the city wants to preserve its home rule jurisdiction over land within its borders. One letter to the editor in the Daily Messenger recently expressed disgust over the Picken's County vote to invoke "public use" for the benefit of a private corporation. The letter scoffed at the idea that the megastore would be unobtrusive behind a setback and shrubs. "You can put a collar of roses on a skunk, but its presence is still apparent." For more details about the Clemson fight to keep the skunk out, contact: Citizens for Responsible Growth in Clemson, 117 Princess Lane, Clemson, SC 29631. Donations are needed to maintain citizen opposition to the plan.










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

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