On April 13, 2006, Sprawl-Busters reported that a proposed Wal-Mart plan had been slam-dunked by the Fargo, North Dakota Planning Commission. The Fargo Forum reported this week that the landowners of the parcel Wal-Mart wanted have withdrawn their request to amend the city’s growth plan.to allow a second Wal-Mart supercenter on the south of Fargo. Last week, Wal-Mart terminated a purchase agreement with the landowners for the 118 acre property near Interstate 29. The property owners were scheduled to ask the City Commission this week to increase the commercial zoning on their land from 10 acres to 50 acres, but the rezoning request has now been officially withdrawn. The proposal didn’t get very far in Fargo, as opposition from surrounding neighborhoods became very visible. In response to the outcry against the Wal-Mart, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend against the growth plan amendment. City Planners told the Forum that the landowners will have to file a new application if they want to pursue expanded retail space. “They’ll have to start over from scratch,” the city official said.
This plan has been scratched, and Wal-Mart has quietly backed out of the deal. If there had been no local organizing to stop this project, would it have gone through? Wal-Mart did not want to leave this site, and in fact will likely try to find another southside location. So citizen involvement spelled the death of this bad plan — but activists better keep their engines running, because only the landowners lost big this time. Wal-Mart will be busy looking for Plan B.