Those Massachusetts wetlands can be very dangerous. Just ask Wal-Mart, which just stepped into a multi-year quagmire in the town of Hadley, Massachusetts. Wal-Mart has applied to build a 212,000 s.f. superstore on 22 acres within a stone’s throw of its existing discount store, a quick little game of musical chairs. The town’s Planning Board, which I like to call the “Hardly Planning Board,” has been ready to approve this plan for months, but citizen opposition continues to grow, as does Wal-Mart’s own problems at the site. Last month the town’s Conservation Commission ruled that existing detention basins on the mall’s site must be included in the wetlands area, which increases the land area needed for replication. The developer, the Pyramid Corporation, and Wal-Mart appealed that ruling to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Whatever the DEP rules is also likely to be appealed, so the Conservation Commission action on the project is now on ice for at least a year or longer. The next hearing by that group will not take place until June 13. According to the Hampshire Gazette, another state agency will come to the site later this spring to check the site for rare species, including the spotted turtle and the Eastern spadefoot toad.
Wal-Mart’s Prince of a project has turned into a toad. The group Hadley Neighbors has put significant pressure on town officials, with large crowds packing every hearing. For earlier stories, search Newsflash by the name of the town.