Citizen opposition has worn away at Wal-Mart over the years, and nowhere more clearly than in Manor Township, Pennslyvania, where opponents have literally ground the store down to just 45% of its original planned size. In 1996, Wal-Mart announced its intention to build a superstore in the small community of Manor Township, Pennsylvania. Wal-Mart architects had carefully designed a 220,000 s.f. store to fit onto roughly 29 acres of land near South Centerville Road — but what they hadn’t calculated was the steadfast resolve of local residents to stop them. A group called Friends Against Irresponsible Development (FAID) was formed to lead the opposition, and ten years later, FAID still exists, and there is no Wal-Mart supercenter in Manor. Ever persistent, Wal-Mart is still knocking on Manor’s door, this time with a proposed 99,000 square foot store. Wal-Mart wrote a letter just before Christmas to township officials saying it would stop trying to beat the town in court for the 220,000 s.f. store. “Wal-Mart now intends to construct a 99,000 s.f. store which is a ‘by-right’ use in the township’s general commercial zoning district.” Wal-Mart submitted a site plan, and a letter for the township’s zoning officer to sign, giving Wal-Mart permission to file a land-development plan with the Lancaster County Planning Commission. The group FAID has vowed to continue its ten year battle against Wal-Mart. In a letter to Sprawl-Busters, FAID President, Jim Huber, a former county commissioner, says his group “has defeated Wal-Mart on the township, county and state levels. We credit our success to an expert attorney, expert planning consultant, expert storm water engineer, lighting expert, and the expert advice from your books.” Huber adds, “Wal-Mart’s last application was rejected by the Manor Township Zoning Board on September 25, 2006. They did not appeal within the 30 day limit, but the Township Zoning Officer informed us that Wal-Mart has contacted him relative to an application for a smaller 99,000 s.f. store to avoid the special exception requirements of a store over 100,000 s.f. FAID is proceeding to have the zoning for general commercial amended to make it difficult or impossible for Wal-Mart to locate here.”
FAID has raised tens of thousands of dollars for its decade-long battle with Wal-Mart. It costs money to battle experts against Wal-Mart’s experts. Now the group needs financial help to stop this latest proposal from Wal-Mart. Anyone wishing to contribute should send a check made out to FAID, Box 385, Mountville, PA 17554. If you are looking for a concrete way to express your opposition to Wal-Mart’s small-town destruction, send FAID a check today.