The final word will not be in until September, but this week Wal-Mart lost its first crucial vote in Avondale, Arizona. The Southwest Valley Republic newspaper notes that the Planning and Zoning Commission in Avondale did not have a hard time saying NO to Wal-Mart, and did so unanimously. The newspaper actually counted 30 rounds of applause during the 2.5 hour hearing on the superstore, as residents spoke out against the plan. The result, according to the paper, “just do anything but say yes to Wal-Mart.” The developer, Kitchell Corporation, promised to keep the parking lot swept, to ban RVs overnight, to give the building “architectural flair”, but the response was, “A Wal-Mart is a Wal-Mart is a Wal-Mart.” “The type of store that Wal-Mart is, is not what we want for the entrance of Avondale,” said Planning and Zoning Commissioner Nathan Cottrell. Commission Chairman Alan Lageschulte added, “My vision for Avondale Boulevard is not, buy a car (at the Automall), go to Harkins, stay at a Hilton and then shop at a discount store. For a city with a population of 60,000 people, to have two Wal-Marts is too many,” Lageschulte said.
For an earlier story this week about the Avondale battle, search Newflash by the name of the city. The final decision on this case will come on September 19th, when the case goes to the City Council. Opponents will need to be busy over the next month submitting letters to the editor, contacting city council members, and getting this issue even hotter than it is today. Many times a City Council has ignored its planning boards, and sold out their own residents. As we say here at Sprawl-Busters, “It ain’t over ’till the fat company sings.” This is, by the way, the 6th. loss Wal-Mart has suffered in the past two weeks