Just who are those people that "blindly support" Wal-Mart, Lu Laoshi? The beloved mayor of Pullman who, when he fell ill recently, had a hospital room full of flowers? The democratically-elected members of the Pullman City Council who recently announced their intention to pass a resolution of support for Wal-Mart? How about Pullman's business leaders like Fritz Hughes and Tom Handy? It's no wonder that local business owners like Leslie O'Dell don't want to be associated with PARD's "Think Pullman First" campaign.
From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
A panel of judges is expected to soon decide the fate of a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman.Technorati Tags: wal-mart walmart
The three-judge panel has six months from the time a case is heard to render a decision, said Renee Townsley, Washington Division III Court of Appeals Clerk. She added that state law requires appellant judges to wrap up all uncompleted matters in that time frame or risk a delayed salary check.
Oral arguments concluded Dec. 19 in the appeal brought by the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, which has long opposed a super center on Bishop Boulevard. June 19 will mark six months since the hearing took place in a Spokane courtroom.
PARD spokesman Chris Lupke said the group holds out hope that the judges will take its side.
"Obviously, the fact that they've taken this long shows that they're taking the case extremely seriously and it's a lot more complicated than those who blindly support Wal-Mart would have you believe," he said.
Wal-Mart announced plans to build on Bishop Boulevard in October 2004 and a site plan for the store was later approved by Pullman Public Works Director Mark Workman. PARD appealed the city's approval of the company's environmental checklist and site plan on the grounds that the store would affect stormwater runoff and traffic, and would negatively affect Pullman's economy.
Because state law allows only one public hearing on a proposed development, Spokane attorney John Montgomery - who acted as Pullman's hearing examiner - was called to oversee PARD's initial appeal. Montgomery compiled a findings of fact document from Wal-Mart, Pullman and PARD, and concluded Wal-Mart's site plan and environmental checklist was sufficient. Montgomery's decision was upheld by Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier, and PARD's appeal was dismissed.
PARD then took the case to the Division III Court of Appeals.
Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson said the city eagerly awaits a final opinion.
"All I can say is that we can't wait for this to be resolved," he said. "From our standpoint, we believe we did the right thing in the first place."
Johnson said other retail projects around Bishop Boulevard are being held up until a decision is rendered.
"We desperately need the additional retail," he said.
Jennifer Holder, Washington Wal-Mart public affairs manager, said the company is waiting for a court decision before moving forward with any construction.
"(Wal-Mart is) not going to construct anything until the case is over," she said.
Pullman Planning Director Pete Dickinson said the city has not yet received the necessary documents that would allow Wal-Mart to begin construction.
"But the city is in a position to issue those permits at any time," he said.
Lupke said PARD has waited several years, and can patiently await a final outcome.
"They're going to decide when they decide," he said.