Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, January 19, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Chelan Wal-Mart to Open as Scheduled

Too bad for Don Orlich and PARD. The "Defenders" of Small Town Chelan accomplished nothing with their frivilous, last-minute lawsuit except gaining media exposure for themselves, wasting tens of thousands of dollars, and pissing off all their neighbors. What other outcome did they possibly expect? There's no way to stop a store when it's stocking the shelves and hiring people.

From the Wenatchee World:
The new Wal-Mart super store in Chelan will be allowed to open as scheduled on Monday, officials with the city of Chelan announced Friday afternoon.

"Unless we're legally obligated to, we're not going to prevent the store from opening. In fact, the spirit of the judge's order is that the store should open," said Mayor Jay Witherbee.

Aaron Evans, Chelan's Wal-Mart store manager, hadn't heard the news, but wasn't surprised, and commented, "We're excited. Extremely excited to get the store open for the people of Chelan so they have a nice place to shop."

Lars Clausen, spokesman for Defenders of Small Town Chelan, said it's no surprise that the store will open, but added, "I wish Wal-Mart had waited until there was a resolution of the building permit before they built."

On Thursday, Judge Lesley Allan told the city of Chelan to decide whether Wal-Mart can open Monday, but reiterated her ruling that the city issued an invalid building permit and fill and grade permit.

Opponents sued the city after it issued the permits last year, and Allan agreed that the 162,000-square-foot store is more than three times what the city allows in the 198-acre Apple Blossom Center.

They city still has to remedy that issue, and on Friday said one option will be to modify the site's zoning through its planned development district.

Witherbee said that Pacland, the Seattle company that conducted the planning and development for the Chelan Wal-Mart, has already submitted a "preapplication" to amend its plan.

"Everyone will have the opportunity to state their opinions and beliefs. I look forward to that," he said.
"Wished Wal-Mart had waited until there was a resolution?" How about dropping your lawsuit when it became clear it wouldn't be heard until three weeks before the store opened?

Another story in the Wenatchee World today reported that:
During Thursday’s lunch rush at the Apple Cup Cafe, petitions to either open or close Wal-Mart have been running 10-to-one in favor of opening the doors. Just finishing lunch, Manson residents Richard and Marguerite Schaeffer said they heard the news that it would open on Monday from their waitress.

“We’ve just been watching and waiting and hoping,” Marguerite Schaeffer said, adding, “We want them to open. We hope they get it all worked out.” Her husband said competition will be good for the downtown businesses, and for shoppers who won’t have to pay whatever price they decide to charge.

At another table, Chris Czerniak, who lives up McNeil Canyon, said it’s kind of scary getting a second traffic light in town, but Chelan won’t be able to keep its small-town feel forever.

She figures she’ll save a lot of time and money with a Wal-Mart in town.

“I’d have to say 50 percent of this town already shops at Wal-Mart, whether they admit it or not. A lot of people object to Wal-Mart, but they have things I need as a single mother,” she said.

At Wal-Mart, Vivian and Jack Frederick were just driving by to see whether there was any news posted about the opening. “I can hardly wait till they open,” said Vivian Frederick.

Her husband said they drive by every day just to check on the progress. “How in the world does a store like this hurt a small-income town?” he asked, then added, “People have to go to Wenatchee to buy a pair of gloves.”
Former Chelan City Councilman Bob Goedde, who has been conducting a local community opinion study, says his public opinion survey indicates people want the city to permit Walmart to open. He says the signed forms are running 20 to 1 in favor of Wal-Mart opening. On their website, the "Defenders" of Small Town Chelan at least have the honesty, unlike PARD, to admit that "We know that our organization does not represent the entire community." That's putting it mildly.

I'll have more of the ordinary residents of Chelan's fight to have their voice heard over the wealthy elitists later. But this case shows that IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!! Technorati Tags:

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

Looking at GoChelan.com website, (the website appears to be sympathetic to the anti-Wal-Marters), I have my doubts as to Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan's re-election chances. But maybe she thinks campaign donations win elections.

It is rather amazing how similar the sanctimonius statements from Chelan's anti-Wal-Mart group are to the statements made by PARD and the MCA. It's almost like they are using the same play book or something. lol Even their attorney is (ever so coincidently!) the spawn of the Bricklin and Dodd law office.