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2001-02-04
Reno, NV. Wal-Mart Sues After Rejection

What part of "NO" don't they understand? Sam Walton said Wal-Mart does not want to go where it is not wanted, but apparently a 5-2 vote of the Reno City Council is not considered a clear enough message. According to sprawl-busters in Reno, Wal-Mart has sued the city for rejecting its plans last November. Wal-Mart wanted to put up a 207,000 s.f. supercenter on 22 acres in the northwest corner of Reno. The majority of the City Council was concerned that Wal-Mart would create traffic tie-ups in the area, and were attentive to a traffic study submitted during hearings by local residents. The citizens' traffic impact study showed a higher level of traffic than Wal-Mart's own study. Reno's Assistant City Manager, Donna Kristaponis, gave the Reno Gazette Journal her opinion on the lawsuit: "I've worked with Wal-Mart in a lot of different places. This is their motis operandi. The city has a strong case, but you never know what a judge or jury will do. It's quite possible there would have been a lawsuit irrespective of the Council decision." Wal-Mart contends that the Council's decision is "arbitrary, capricious, unlawful, and not supported by substantial evidence." The City Council and Mayor felt that the project could not proceed at this time because roadwork necessary to make the project work has not been done, and is not even scheduled by the state to be done for three to five years.

What you can do: What you can't get by regulation, try to get by litigation. The City Council has to consider the impact of development on the public safety if a project creates undue demand on area roads. In this case, the City Council decided, after hearing all the evidence, including a full presentation from Wal-Mart's traffic engineers, that a huge superstore would back up traffic on Interstate 80 from people trying to get off at the Wal-Mart exit. Wal-Mart's decision to sue the city will cost the taxpayers of Reno a considerable expense. Reno already has an abundant supply of superstores, so it could be argued that this store is not for the convenience of area residents, but for the benefit of Wal-Mart stockholders. Despite the Council's careful examination of traffic issues, conducted during hours of public hearings, Wal-Mart says the outcome was arbitrary and capricious. Many Reno taxpayers may feel this added expense caused by Wal-Mart is pernicious, not capricious.










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

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