Wal-Mart appeal costs Pullman more than $20kTechnorati Tags: wal-mart walmart
Bills still coming in as hearing examiner rewrites his decision
The city of Pullman spent $20,852.12 through mid-June to defend against the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development’s appeal of the city’s decision approving Wal-Mart’s site plan and environmental checklist.
The figure provided by city Finance Director Troy Woo doesn’t include the cost of sending City Attorney Laura McAloon to the appeal hearing Thursday, or the $100 per hour the city will have to pay John Montgomery to rewrite his decision as ordered by Superior Court Judge David Frazier. No one can estimate how many hours it might take Montgomery to complete that task.
The biggest known cost to the city has been McAloon’s time, estimated at $10,903.87 through the second week of June, Woo said.
Wages paid to city employees who have spent time on the appeal probably amount to more, but the city hasn’t tracked those hours. Defending land use appeals is part of doing business as a government, Woo said.
“It’s part of the public process, so it’s what we do,” Woo said. [Sure, but think of what else they could be doing with their time]
Wal-Mart announced its plans for a 223,000-square-foot super center in October 2004.
The city issued two decisions in the summer of 2005 approving Wal-Mart’s site plan and finding the store would have no significant impact on the surrounding environment. PARD appealed those decisions.
Montgomery presided over three days of public testimony in January, hearing from numerous people both favoring and opposing the proposal. He issued a decision in February upholding the city’s approval of the development. PARD again appealed, and the case went to the Whitman County Superior Court for a hearing Thursday.
State law grants citizens the right to appeal development projects they believe will have an impact on the town’s environment. In the case of Wal-Mart, filing an appeal was one of the only ways citizens could express any formal opinion about the proposed store.
Because the land already was zoned for commercial use, no decisions were made about the development by any city boards or the City Council. No public hearings were conducted until the appeal was filed.
PARD formed in January 2005 in large part because some residents wanted to have some say in how the community is developed.
“The major principle we have out of this is choice,” said T.V. Reed, a PARD board member. “Our zoning laws are so open they left us little choice.” [What? If our zoning laws were so open, we'd have a Wal-Mart by now. All this proves is that with enough money and enough lawyers, any development in Pullman can be held up for an interminable amount of time.]
Reed didn’t have the figure for PARD’s appeal costs immediately available [Nor will they ever be. The "heroes" don;t want you peeking behind at the man behind the curtain.], but denied rumors circulating among Wal-Mart proponents that PARD is being supported by labor unions with an anti-Wal-Mart agenda. [Deny, deny, deny, the rumors won't go away. Again, why not just admit it. Are we supposed to believe it's just a coincidence that PARD is being represented by the same law firm that has represented the UFCW in all its other appeals in Washington against Wal-Mart?]
“The people doing the real work here are long-term residents,” Reed said. [Riiiight. Lots of attornyes, traffic engineers and economists in the WSU School of Liberal Arts.]
Even if the group was taking outside money, Reed doesn’t see anything wrong with that. [Just like the Seinfeld episode.]
“We have a right to use national resources,” Reed said. “I think the people of Pullman would love to have support from wherever they can get it.” [National resources? The people of Pullman? Hah! Why don't some of these outsiders pony up the $20 grand PARD's appeal has cost so far? That would be SUPPORT. Reed looks like an ass saying things like this.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
DYNAMITE story in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News by Michelle Dupler. The costs continue to add up for Pullman as the appeals go on and on and on....