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2000-05-06
Davie, FL. Wal-Mart Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Nobody ever accused Wal-Mart of knowing how to read a map. How else to explain all the times the company has had to ask local authorities to rezone land to meet their needs? In Davie, Florida, Wal-Mart lusted after 34 acres of green pastures, which, according to The Miami Herald, still is used to graze sheep. (The land, ironically, is owned by the Wolf family, who wants to sell it to Wal-Mart.). Area residents turned out in force to oppose Wal-Mart's rezoning bid, and on April 26th. the town's Planning Staff and Planning Agency voted against rezoning the land from office park to commercial. The sheep are not off the hook -- even if things don't look very promising for Wal-Mart. The property is currently zoned to allow 90,000 s.f. of retail, 387,000 s.f. of office space, 100,000 s.f. of warehouse, and a 185 rooom hotel. But not for a 250,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter. "That Wal-Mart would have been an eyesore," said one neighbor. "The one in Florida City is a flea market -- it's abhorrent. The chairman of the Planning Agency made it clear the local residents carried more weight than Wal-Mart. "The goal of this board has always been to protect the resident's neighborhood, and that's what I'm going to do." One of his fellow Board members told the Herald: "The bottom line is we have to look out for the residents who will live right next door to the development." But the Wolf is literally still at the door, and the final decision in Davie rests with the Town Council. The Planning Agency ruled that a Wal-Mart "would decrease the availability of land to implement the town's policy of encouraging development of offices for administrative, professional and business purposes in a campus-like setting." The Agency said Wal-Mart would result in an increase in solid waste and road trips, and a decrease in sanitary sewer and potable water for the town.

What you can do: These words from the Davie Planning Agency should be bronzed and nailed over the public hearing rooms in every town hall in America: "The goal of this board has always been to protect the resident's neighborhood..." All too often, Planning Board act as protectors of developers, providing safe haven for land use changes. It looks like Davie, Florida is heading towards a slam-dunk of Wal-Mart.One town planner said:"The town wants to keep this land as commercial/office -- it is our largest plot of land available for office parks. We have plenty of commercial land, but our commercial/office areas are limited." For now, the Wal-Mart Wolf has been denied its sheep.










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

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