Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Wal-Mart comes to town and wants to build a huge 220,000 sq. ft. supercenter right in the middle of a city neighborhood. The plan includes a huge parking structure. It's estimated the project would generate 7,000 additional car trips a day. Nonetheless, city officials give a rubber stamp administrative approval. The community is upset and a backlash ensues.
Sound familiar so far?
This story isn't from Austin. It's from Gresham, Oregon, the fourth largest city in that state. It started over two years ago, and came to a final—and happy!—conclusion this past month.
Citizens appealed the approval to the Gresham Hearings Officer, who sided with them and denied the project for traffic and safety issues. Wal-Mart tried, but failed, to overturn the appeal.
Finally, Wal-Mart conceded and said they'd take their development to a more appropriate location.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Holder said today that the company would not appeal a recent rejection of the proposal by a city hearing's officer—the most recent of several obstacles the retailer has faced in its 2 1/2-year struggle to build a store at the site.
"While disappointed by the decision, a long protracted legal battle is not in anyone's best interests," Holder said in a news release. "Our obligation and our commitment to our customers is to find a site that works for them as well as for the city.
It's unfortunate Austin city management didn't stand up for the citizens the way Gresham's did. That's why RG4N had to turn to the courts.
But this story shows that when the citizens stand firm, Wal-Mart will eventually get the message.
You can read more about it here: Wal-Mart abandons plan for new store in Gresham