Wal-Mart, we’ll see you in court. That’s the refrain heard around the country, as more and more citizens fight back. According to the Morning News in Florence County, South Carolina, residents have sued the County and the Florence Planning Commission for its approval of a Wal-Mart supercenter on 49 acres along Beltline Drive. We first told you about this case on February 9, 2003. A community group, Citizens for Responsible Economic Development (RED) has charged in the 12th. Circuit Court that the planning commission did not follow state planning laws when it approved Wal-Mart’s development plans in early December. Residents have complained about traffic issues, stormwater runoff, and violations of the state’s Comprehensive Planning Enabling Act. The lawsuit claims that the County violated its own comprehensive plan by approving a plan inconsistent with county land use goals. The county’s lawyer told the Morning News, “”They’re challenging it on several fronts. I respect their position, but I’ll need an opportunity to talk to all parties involved on the county before I make any comments.” Carolyn Jebaily, RED chair, told the newspaper, “The purpose of the planning law is to empower planning commissions to plan for future growth to prevent uncontrolled sprawl and inefficient development patterns. Unplanned growth results in traffic congestion, environmental pollution, loss of green space, and commercial encroachment into residential areas.” Neighbors have complained that a superstore should not be located across the street from the West Florence High School, creating a dangerous traffic situation.
For more background on this case, search the Newsflash database by “Florence.”