On February 8, 2001, newsflash reported that residents of Overland Park, Kansas has managed to repell a Wal-Mart Supercenter, by gathering protest petitions from abuttors, and forcing the City Council to vote for the plan by a “supermajority” vote of 9 out of 10 members. Wal-Mart lost 3 votes, and lost their store. But now they’re baaaack! Eight months later, they are still at it. This report was filed by Bob Phillips, who fought the first round of superstores successfully: “Wal-Mart’s attempting to build a massive SuperCenter at 159th and Metcalf. The effort to stop Wal-Mart is going forward full blast and we believe we have a reasonable chance of success. We think we can stop Wal-Mart with help from enough neighbors. There are 3 steps Wal-Mart must follow to get approved. Only the 3rd one is decisive. That is the Overland Park City Council meeting coming up Thursday, November 19. Here are the steps Wal-Mart must go through to get approved and what has happened so far: 1. Planning Commission Vote – The Planning Commission voted against us (in favor of Wal-Mart) 10 – 0. Last year we did better – we lost 9 – 1. The 1was no longer on the Commission this time. Many people saw the headline in the papers about this vote and figured the battle was lost. Nothing could be further from the truth. 2. Legal Protest Petition – In cases like this, landowners who live within 200 ft on the Overland Park side (2 residential properties in Wynnefield) and 1000 ft on the County side (13 residential properties in Steck Plantation neighborhood) can sign a legal petition. If owners of 20% of the land within these distances vote in our favor, then we can win on the City Council with only 2 votes. This year we did not make it – a couple of landowners who signed last year became convinced by Wal-Mart they could make a lot of money by not signing the petition and later selling their property as commercial. Last year we did make it and had 3 votes on the City Council, so we beat Wal-Mart. 3. City Council (actually, the Governing Body) – These are the folks with the real power. They are elected representatives who are looking out for the good of the City. There are 10 City Council members and the Mayor. We must convince at least 6 members of the Governing Body to vote against the Wal-Mart application. None of these elected representatives can commit themselves to how they will vote prior to the City Council Meeting on November 19. So you literally do not know until that night whether or not you have won. Last year we blindsided them with the first successful protest petition in Overland Park in years and years. So, this year they successfully fought last year’s battle. . Everyone of you who opposes Wal-Mart at 159th and Metcalf can help us out by sending an email to: [email protected] telling your opposition to Wal-Mart. Bob will use these in their battle agaist the Wal-Mart SuperCenter.
Here’s Bob’s message to sprawl-busters everywhere: “Everyone of you who opposes Wal-Mart at 159th and Metcalf can help us out by writing/phoning/emailing City Council Members. An email to: [email protected] goes to every one of them.” Just email that address and send the message: “You were right the first time. Keep the Wal-Mart supercenter out of Overland Park!”.”