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1998-09-25
Harrisonburg, VA. Wal-Mart in Hiding?

The Rockingham County, VA County Board of Supervisors voted Sept. 23rd by 4-1 to allow land zoned industrial to be included as part of a proposed 152,000 s.f. building that everybody says is a Wal-Mart, but the developer isn't talking (see Sept. 4 newsflash entry). The South Carolina based developer first filed papers under the name Wyatt development, which the local newspaper says works exclusively building Wal-Marts, but then the developer changed its filing to the name ATW Enterprises, and told local officials it "could not provide the information" about who the retail tenant was. The project is located in an area frequented by Old Order Mennonites in horse-drawn buggies, and some residents complained that the huge project would disrupt the rural, agricultural setting of Harrisonburg. The one member of the Board of Supervisors who voted against the project, Tim Hulings, told the Daily News Record: "The most unattractive thing about this had been mentioned, the disruption of the county way of life as we know it. It would seem to me to make more sense that our retail stores and services be clustered in our towns so that they could be served with the town services." The local newspaper editorialized on the impact of Wal-Mart on the "comparatively serene, tranquil area of the county". The paper pointed out that the project requires a "generous offer" of taxpayer's dollars to pay for a larger water line to the site, and for the construction costs of extending the water line. The writer criticized the developer for declining "even to divulge the identity of its client, despite that fact that it works exclusively for Wal-Mart." The editorial concluded: "Any community that fails to adequately plan, that permits commercial development to dictate what public works projects must follow, is forever trailing events rather than leading and directing them."

What you can do: The Harrisonburg case proves yet again: Wal-Mart is like a cheap pair of underwear, they keep creeping up on you. For further information, contact Sheila Newman at 540-234-9261 ext. 247.










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

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