The Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD) announced Monday that they will take their case against the proposed Pullman Wal-Mart to the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Spokane.Technorati Tags: wal-mart walmart
PARD said in a news release that the decision came after several weeks of deliberation and discussion.
“While the appeal will be costly, we have had great support from thousands of folks in the community, and currently have a new membership drive underway," said PARD legal liaison T.V. Reed. "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. A host of new and planned developments along Bishop have made the traffic situation far worse than when the store was originally proposed.”
PARD said that, in his ruling last month, Judge David Frazier praised the organization's thorough research and substantial evidence about traffic dangers and the lack of an independent analysis of the impact of the supercenter on the local economy.
"PARD members feel strongly that at each level of appeal we have raised awareness of the dangers of the project, and that we owe it to our thousands of supporters to continue our work to stop the project or make it safer," said Christopher Lupke, the group's media coordinator.
“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 added.
“It is important to realize that nothing PARD has done puts Wal-Mart under an injunction," PARD member Alex Hammond said. "They could have started building months ago. That they haven’t started suggests that they have understood all along that we have a strong case.”
Reed said that in his ruling Judge Frazier emphasized that “’zoning laws always trump comprehensive plans.’
"What that means for Pullman is that all the lovely sentiments in our city Comprehensive Plan are meaningless unless we enact zoning laws that actually support responsible, environmentally and economically sustainable development," said Reed. "Wal-Mart is just one part of a much larger problem.”
Wal-Mart Senior Public Affairs Manager for Washington and Oregon, Jennifer Holder, said Monday that Wal-Mart has never lost an appeal at this level and that it is her understanding that whoever loses the appeal will be responsible for all court costs.
"We have not lost a case at this level of appeal," said Holder. "Our track record is pretty perfect."
Holder said she is somewhat surprised by PARD's further appealing the decision, since the cost to the party who loses could be "severe."
"We're looking forward to seeing the appeal and will have further comment once we have done that," Holder said.
A group supportive of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity (BREO), reacted with disappointment at the news of the appeal.
In its own news release, BREO said "Frazier denied PARD's appeal of a Hearing Examiner's decision on October 18 because the evidence did not support PARD, as required by law."
I'm not surprised that PARD is appealing," said BREO co-founder Tom Forbes. "But it's a shame that a small group of people continue to hold Pullman's future hostage because of their ideological agenda. This appeal will cost city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more and delay burgeoning retail growth that is contingent on Wal-Mart opening." Forbes continued, "We hope that this appeal is dismissed quickly so that this long and divisive issue can be put behind us for good."
Founded in October 2005, BREO says it supports free enterprise, business growth, and healthy competition in the city of Pullman and Whitman County.
Monday, November 27, 2006
"PARD will appeal Wal-Mart decision"
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