Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, October 06, 2006

"Wal-Mart debate will be decided soon"

Nice article in today's Daily Evergreen. I continue to be impressed with Brian Schraum. He did a great job on the timeline. I think Kelsey Moll had a hand in this article as well.
A timeline recounts the past events of Pullman issue prior to a court hearing Oct. 18.

Two years later, the debate over a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman could soon reach some finality.

A Whitman County Superior Court judge will hear an appeal of the decision to approve Wal-Mart’s building plans at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 in Colfax.

In October 2004, Wal-Mart announced its intent to construct a store off Bishop Boulevard. The 223,000-square-foot building would be across the street from Safeway.

Concerned residents formed Pullman/People Against Wal-Mart Supercenter in early 2005, with a goal of keeping the retailer out of the city. PAWS later changed its name to the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development.

The group claims the store would pose numerous environmental and traffic problems for the area. It also argues existing businesses would face a serious threat from a low-price retailer such as Wal-Mart.

A year ago, residents on the other side of the debate formed their own group, Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity.

“We have every reason to believe that Judge [David] Frazier will uphold [Spokane attorney John] Montgomery’s revised decision and that Pullman and Whitman County can soon begin to recapture the serious sales leakages to neighboring communities,” BREO Cofounder Tom Forbes said.

BREO members argue Pullman is losing a significant amount of sales revenue to Moscow and other areas, and Wal-Mart would help keep that money in town.

The Wal-Mart debate in review


October: Wal-Mart announces plans to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman, and files forms with the city.


January: Pullman/People Against Wal-Mart Supercenters (PAWS) holds its first meeting. The group soon changes name to the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD).

February: PARD announces it will challenge the store based on a Wal-Mart traffic study.

May: Wal-Mart submits revised documents and says it will pay for 20 percent of a traffic light at the Bishop Boulevard-Fairmount Drive intersection, and the full cost of a traffic light at the Bishop Boulevard-Harvest Drive intersection.

June 22: Public Works Director Mark Workman makes a preliminary decision that the Wal-Mart would not pose a serious environmental threat. This starts a 14-day comment period required by the State Environmental Policy Act.

Aug. 25: After considering public input, Workman finalizes his determination on Wal-Mart’s environmental impact.

September: PARD files an appeal of Workman’s SEPA decision with the city hearing examiner. The same month, Workman also approved Wal-Mart’s site plan.

October: PARD files another appeal, this one of Workman’s site plan approval. The two appeals are consolidated, awaiting hearing. The same month, Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity (BREO), a Wal-Mart proponent, is founded. Ed Schweitzer, president of Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Labs, also announced his support for the Wal-Mart proposal.


Jan. 13 to 26: Hearing Examiner John Montgomery holds a public hearing on the proposed Wal-Mart. In a surprise move, a Wal-Mart attorney releases a study claiming the store’s competition with existing Pullman businesses would be minimal.

Feb. 24: Montgomery essentially denies PARD’s appeals, approving the Wal-Mart plans. He also added two more conditions related to traffic lights on Bishop Boulevard.

March: PARD appeals the ruling to Whitman County Superior Court, arguing Montgomery did not have adequate information on Wal-Mart’s environmental and fiscal impact when he made his decision.

June 22: Judge David Frazier puts the appeal on hold, asking Montgomery to clarify his decision.

Sept. 19: Montgomery submits a revised decision with further explanation of his rationale.

Oct. 18: Frazier will hear PARD’s appeal with the new revisions.

From here: Frazier could either reverse or affirm Montgomery’s decision. Parties could then appeal to the Washington State Court of Appeals in Spokane.
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1 comment:

Satanic Mechanic said...

I was surprised that the chimps at the Evergreen used spellchecker this time!