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1999-12-15
So.San Francisco, CA. Costco & Wal-Mart Battles

An up or down vote on a 147,000 s.f. Costco store will be on the ballot in this community of 60,000 people -- but that's just the start of the "big box" controversy in South San Francisco. A Wal-Mart supercenter has also created a neighborhood insurrection. First, Costco proposed a huge retail store with 16 gas pumps in the parking lot. Angry residents collected enough signatures to put the 15 acre Costco plan on the March, 2000 ballot. Up until several months ago, the land Costco wanted was zoned for high-density housing, but according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the City Council amended its General Plan to allow the site to be used for retail development. The city already has one Costco. Meanwhile, residents have also geared up to do battle with a proposed 136,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter. On December 8th. the City Council heard the Wal-Mart issue, but declined to vote on it. They will consider a moratorium on big box development in the proposed Wal-Mart area this evening. Local sprawl-busters report that the Council seems to lean 4-1 against the Wal-Mart plan, and continued the case to try and find a way to change the zoning in the area. Wal-Mart brought in some of its employees from other communities to last week's hearing, but they were outnumbered by anti-Wal-Mart residents. After local residents submitted their signatures to the San Mateo County elections officials, the City Councilors had a chance to rescind their November vote to OK Costco. Instead of rescinding their vote, the Council voted to place the question on the March ballot. "If the public feels (an election) is the direction they want to take it in, then so be it," said one Councilman.

What you can do: South San Francisco is 12 miles south of San Francisco, and is a separate community with a unique sense of place. Local activists have no use for either Costco or Wal-Mart, and could end up slam-dunking both projects. Costco is expected to spend big bucks on the March, 2000 referendum, outstripping what community groups can raise. But local residents say South San Francisco is not for sale, and say the City Council is very lukewarm to the Wal-Mart supercenter as well. To find out how you can help the citizens of South San Francisco score a double hit, or for further information, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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