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2016-01-08
Oakland Park. FL. Wal-Mart Threatens To Sue If City Blocks Superstore

Two strikes against Wal-Mart, but not down swinging yet.
The Sun Sentinel reports this week that Wal-Mart’s proposal to build a new 121,345 s.f. sprawlcenter on the site of a dead Kmart in Oakland Park, Florida has fallen short. But apparently if the retailer can’t get what it wants by regulation, it will resort to litigation.

Over the last six months, one Oakland Park public official has stymied their plans. To get approval for their project, Wal-Mart needs the affirmative vote of 3 Commissioners. But Commissioner Sara Guevrekian refused to support the plan, so it went down in flames a couple of days ago by a 2-1 vote.

The City’s Attorney, D.J. Doody, warned city officials that the Florida Supreme Court has ruled the only way proposals can be denied is if there is "competent substantial evidence" that it doesn't meet the county's standards.

The Sun Sentinel says the city’s staff and their Planning and Zoning Board Commissioners said the proposal is fine. There were some residents who testified against the plan, but the planning employees were ready to rubber stamp Wal-Mart---which is usually the case. Planners view these big box proposals like safari hunters view elephants. Bagging a big box looks good on their wall.

Commissioner Guevrekian objected to the plan based on traffic impacts. She claimed the project was "adverse to the public's interests,” according to the Sun Sentinel. "I didn't base it on any of the comments that were made," Guevrekian said. "I based my decision on the information that was supplied by the applicant."

Wal-Mart’s attorney has requested dispute resolution before a special magistrate who can issue a recommended order for the commission to consider. Wal-Mart could just file a lawsuit---since many towns are scared off by Wal-Mart’s deep pockets for legal expenses.

Mayor Tim Lonergan recused himself from the case because he works for United Health Care, which provides health insurance plans to Wal-Mart.

Readers area urged to send an email to Commissioner Guevrekian at: http://oaklandparkfl.gov/279/Commissioner-Sara-Guevrekian with the following message:
“Dear Commissioner Guevrekian,
Thanks you so much for speaking out against Wal-Mart’s sprawlcenter proposal for Oakland Park. I agree with your statement on your webpage that you are “protecting what is good about Oakland Park while also deterring negative elements from impacting our everyday quality of life.”
As I like to say, “you can’t buy small town quality of life on any shelf at Wal-Mart, but once they steal it from you, you can’t buy it back at any price.”
You do not need a store that it bigger than two football fields. According to Wal-Mart, Oakland Park has 13 Wal-Marts within a short 10 mile drive in every direction. Your retail trade area is clearly saturated with Wal-Marts. This is no a form of economic development, its economic displacement, which will kill more existing jobs than it will create. Your reward will be more traffic, and more crime.
Don’t let them intimidate you with threats of a lawsuit. They like to throw their weight around legally, but hundreds of communities have stood their ground.
I hope you will keep on with your campaign to protect the quality of life in Oakland Park.”

What you can do: Readers area urged to send an email to Commissioner Guevrekian at: http://oaklandparkfl.gov/279/Commissioner-Sara-Guevrekian with the following message:

“Dear Commissioner Guevrekian,

Thank you so much for speaking out against Wal-Mart’s sprawlcenter proposal for Oakland Park.

I agree with the statement on your webpage that you are “protecting what is good about Oakland Park while also deterring negative elements from impacting our everyday quality of life.”

As I like to say, 'you can’t buy small town quality of life on any shelf at Wal-Mart, but once they steal it from you, you can’t buy it back at any price.'

You do not need a store that is bigger than two football fields. According to Wal-Mart, Oakland Park has 13 Wal-Marts within a short 10 mile drive in every direction. Your retail trade area is clearly saturated with Wal-Marts. This is not a form of economic development, its economic displacement, which will kill more existing jobs than it will create. Your reward will be more traffic, and more crime.

Don’t let Wal-Mart intimidate you with threats of a lawsuit. They like to throw their weight around legally, but hundreds of communities have stood their ground--and won.

I hope you will keep on with your campaign to protect the quality of life in Oakland Park.”










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

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