Last June, Newsflash reported on an effort to block Wal-Mart in Titusville, Florida. Here’s an update from the front lines received this week: “Titusville residents continue their fight against Wal-Mart’s plan
to build on 91 acres of wooded land, directly across the street from an elementary school, and five miles away from an existing supercenter. This land is environmentally sensitive, forming the main water recharge area for city wells in the northern end of town, along with being the home of a sizable amount of native flora and fauna. The residents of the Tanglewood Subdivision were sucessfully able to petition the city of Titusville to have a stub-out road closed as a right of way. The stub-out had been shown in preliminary Wal-Mart plans as a way to allow traffic from the Wal-Mart to move through the neighborhood and out to main streets, threatening the residents of Tanglewood with increased traffic (and the danger from that traffic), increased noise, and decreased quality of life. Based on the conceptual
plans Wal-Mart had published, the homeowners association took quick action during the late summer and early fall of 2004 to contact all concerned city agencies and public utility providers. Clearance was
obtained from all involved to close the stub-out as a right of way (but it was agreed that the organizations would be granted access to the area to conduct repairs on buried utility lines, etc.) Despite mysterious last second changes in recommendations from the city’s planning department, the city council unanimously passed the vacation of right of way action during a heavily attended council meeting, protecting the residents of Tanglewood from at least one part of the threat the planned Wal-Mart posed. Further action against the proposed Wal-Mart has led to the holding of a community meeting on the 15th of February, 2005 to allow the community to “discuss” the plan with Wal-Mart representatives. This meeting was originally scheduled for June of 2004, but it was subsequently cancelled at Wal-Mart’s request. Various rumors began to circulate that the plan for the site was not to the corproation’s liking, either due to environmental and/or zoning requirements. Some rumors even clamed that the corporation was no longer looking at the site, but this was unfounded, as several private citizens and area representatives learned at a early December 2004 meeting, when Wal-Mart consultants met with them to further the “discussions” of the planned store. Wal-Mart attempted to claim this as their community meeting, but officials from the City of Titusville showed their mettle by insisting that a widely advertised open meeting be held to “discuss” the plans for the supercenter. The meeting of February 15th proved to be an interesting one, attended by over 400 local residents. Wal-Mart consultants and employees (lawyers, architects, and community affairs specialists) presented a forty minute powerpoint show, attempting to demonstrate that they had sufficiently addressed issues related to the planned store’s site. The information presented showed their plans for modifying the area roads, changing the access for school children, and laying out the store to meet various governmental regulations. Another presentation was given about the number and quality of the jobs that the store would provide. This was followed by a question and answer period. It rapidly became obvious during the question and answer period that the entirety of the local residents present were not only unsatisfied by Wal-Mart’s presentation, but many became actively hostile when it became clear that the corporation was not really willing to “discuss” anything about the site, other than to state that they were “committed” to building there. The evening ended with the Wal-Mart representatives returning to their home base with no changes to their plans, and left a great number of residents unsatisfied with that plan. The next day, a local Orlando television station reported that Wal-Mart planned to press on with development of the store. Titusville residents are now looking elsewhere to halt the building of the supercenter.
For contacts with the Titusville residents fighting off Wal-Mart, contact: [email protected]