Judge Upholds PARD Wal-Mart ClaimDid you count all the pointless hyperbole in that statement? I would hardly say Judge Frazier "upheld PARD's claim." Giving Montgomery a second chance to draft his decision can only help Wal-Mart and the city's case and make it immune to further appeals. PARD has won nothing but a stay of execution, but they'll flog this for all the PR value they can.
Thursday June 22, 2006, Pullman, WA: Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier today gave a strong boost to the legal case against Wal-Mart brought by the Pullman Alliance for Responsible (PARD). Frazier supported PARD’s claim that the ruling by Hearing Examiner John Montgomery failed to provide sufficient grounds for his decision allowing the proposed Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter to go forward.
In their brief submitted to superior court, PARD argued that Montgomery had ignored massive amounts of evidence presented regarding the negative traffic and fiscal impacts the giant store could have on Pullman. Judge Frazier concurred with PARD’s claim, and remanded the ruling back to Hearing Examiner Montgomery for further consideration.
Sending the case back to Montgomery puts in place a process that will delay the next hearing until October 18, 2006. Asked for comment, PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed noted “This is a clear victory for the citizens of Pullman. Judge Frazier has confirmed PARD’s position that the Hearing Examiner did not make a compelling case to support his ruling on behalf of Wal-Mart.” Reed added, “PARD hopes that on further consideration Mr. Montgomery will realize that the issues we have raised have serious ramifications for traffic safety and for the economic well-being of the City. At the very least, they make clear the need for a full Environmental Impact Statement and full fiscal impact analysis.”
PARD media spokesperson Christopher Lupke elaborated on PARD’s response: “Every time PARD has forced closer scrutiny of this project some improvements have been made, but its deep flaws have become clearer. We continue to stress two main concerns. First, that the particular site on Bishop Blvd will cause massive traffic problems and endanger children and the elderly in nearby Pioneer Hill neighborhoods, as well as those needing immediate access to the hospital. And second, that Wal-Mart will do serious economic damage to the City. Those are the key issues Judge Frazier has told Mr. Montgomery he needs to review. PARD believes we have presented compelling evidence that the current Wal-Mart site plan has not (and most likely cannot) mitigate those serious problems.”
Montgomery will have 45 days write a new decision bolstering or changing his ruling through a review of the large archive of evidence and arguments presented during three days of hearing testimony last January. Lawyers for the city, Wal-Mart and PARD will be providing Montgomery with additional arguments for their respective positions. In October, the lawyers will take up again what they had hoped to be arguing today – the merits and flaws of Mr. Montgomery’s (revised) ruling.
Conspicuously absent is the cost to the city's taxpayers that this is going to entail (we pay for every hour of Laura McAloon's and John Montgomery's time, not to mention the distratcion to the city staff), nor the 3/4 of a million dollars in lost tax revenue that Scotty mentioned eariler.
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