The only thing standing between the city of Alachua. Florida, and a 1.l million s.f. Wal-Mart distribution center, is a lawsuit filed in 2003. The monkey wrench was wielded by the Alachua Leadership Alliance (ALA), which sued the city for not following proper procedures in approving the distribution center. The ALA lost its lawsuit in the lower Courts, but has kept the challenge alive by appealing the lower court ruling. The city is now trying to get the ALA to drop its lawsuit by offering not to pursue ALA to pay the city’s legal fees. The city’s lawyer told city commissioners that Wal-Mart was holding off on any major construction on the site yet. “I think they’re a little bit nervous because of that (lawsuit),” the city lawyer admitted. And with good reason: in South Florida recently, a developer who had spent millions on a condominium was forced to tear the building down when the building was found out of compliance with a city’s long-range land use plan. “Wal-Mart assured me they won’t walk away from the city of Alachua,” the city’s attorney said. The ALA responded to the city’s complaints about the delay by noting that the city may be nervous because one of the attorneys involved in the South Florida lawsuit is the attorney now representing the ALA in its lawsuit against Alachua.
Activists in Bakersfield, California also tied up two Wal-Mart projects by filing legal action against the city for approving projects without doing their mandated state environmental review. As a result, at least one Wal-Mart supercenter was halted mid construction, and is expected to remain half completed for at least the next 12 months. For contacts in Alachua, email [email protected] Search by “Bakersfield” for that story.