Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, November 27, 2006

"PARD appeals Wal-Mart ruling"

From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News website:
The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development announced it will appeal a Whitman County judge’s decision that would have cleared the way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.

In a news release posted to the PARD Web site, the group says it will take its case to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Spokane.

“PARD will continue to make the case that a huge supercenter on Bishop Boulevard would drastically impede access to the hospital, be dangerous for pedestrians, and negatively impact the local economy,” PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed wrote in the news release.

“Our lawyer has devised a new legal strategy for this next level of appeal, and we are confident that we will win if the evidence is weighed carefully,” Reed wrote.

Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier dismissed in October PARD’s appeal against the city of Pullman and Wal-Mart. In his ruling, Frazier considered the arguments of attorneys for Wal-Mart, the city and PARD on issues such as traffic and the proposed store’s effect on the local economy.

Frazier found there were not sufficient grounds to overturn a decision by Hearing Examiner John Montgomery that upheld the city’s approval of Wal-Mart’s site plan and environmental checklist.

Wal-Mart announced plans to build a super center on Bishop Boulevard in October 2004. PARD appealed the city’s approval of the retailers environmental checklist and site plan. Montgomery presided at three days of hearings in January, and then issued a ruling upholding the city’s decision in February.

That decision was then appealed to superior court and Frazier.

Representatives from a Pullman group that supports the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter wrote in a news release they were disappointed but not surprised by PARD’s decision to appeal Frazier’s ruling.

“This appeal will cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more and delay burgeoning retail growth that is contingent on Wal-Mart opening.” wrote Tom Forbes, co-founder of Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity. “We hope that this appeal is dismissed quickly so that this long and divisive issue can be put behind us for good.”
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