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Fighting Wal-Mart

Updated April 22, 2002

Second Application By Wal-Mart Successful

After losing its first attempt, Wal-Mart was able to gain approval from the Overland Park City Council on a 7-3 vote for its proposed store at the NW corner of 159th and Metcalf. This same margin had been insufficient to gain approval on the first go round because residents had submitted a successful legal Protest Petition. The second petition was defeated when:

  1. Wal-Mart's convinced 3 signers of the first petition that their homes could be converted to commercial property and become incredibly valuable, an extremely unlikely outcome;

  2. The Catholic Education Foundation was prevented from signing the protest petition under the terms of a buyer's contract that was offered during the 2 weeks when protest petition signatures were being collected.

The issue of water on the property and its downstream effects was brought up by the Johnson County South Coalition and reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers, which ultimately decided a Nationwide Permit, the least restrictive kind, was sufficient.

Summary Through May 22, 2002

From the summer of 2000 to the winter of 2001 Neighborhoods in south Johnson County and Overland Park worked closely together to stop Wal-Mart's plans. Over 1500 people signed informal petitions against Wal-Mart. Landowners of 27% of the property within the legal protest area of Wal-Mart signed a legal petition, which led to the plan being defeated.

Wal-Mart intended to drop a huge supercenter (204,000+ sq ft, 4.5 acre footprint) into the middle of several neighborhoods near 159th & Metcalf in Overland Park, KS. This fits in with their new "Neighborhood Strategy" as stated by the attorney representing them, Mr. Petersen.

This battle may very well not be over, but for now Wal-Mart has been stopped. Wal-Mart was unable to muster the votes on the Overland Park City Council to gain approval. This was because neighbors successfully used a Protest Petition to force a 9 to 1 vote in favor to reach passage. The final vote was 7 to 3 in favor. The fact that Wal-Mart in no way fit into the character of the neighborhood in many different ways ranging from scale to traffic, were primary arguments against it.

Neighborhood coordination across south Johnson County became much closer because of this fight, with leading activist groups supporting each other. Because of this coordination, the following tactics led to success:

  • Protest Petitions - Legal and Popular (Here's how plus cover letter detailing legal submission)
  • Lobbying of City Council Members one on one
  • Media exposure
  • Phone trees
  • Leafletting
  • Development of resident directories (Here's how)

Following are articles about this subject.

  • Corps Of Engineers Approves Wal-Mart at 159th & Metcalf : JCSC Considering Its Response
  • Corps To Grant Wal-Mart Permit: Berka Writes JCSC Attorney Charles Benjamin
  • AIMS On-Line Maps Add Color Photos, Measuring Tool : Proposed Developments On Metcalf Have Streams Up To 1200 Feet Long
  • When Wal-Mart Isn't Welcome: article by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell in eKC magazine about Overland Park Wal-Mart
  • Update On Wal-Mart: New Regulations May Not Apply; Underground Springs On Property
  • Creekside Resident Asks Corps For Public Meeting: Lives In Middle of Development, But Next To Negro Creek
  • More Photos and History of Willowbend Flooding, Silting: Neighbor Left Because Of These Problems
  • Thoughtful Letter By A Knowledgable Resident: Corp Should Apply New Water Regs Carefully, Require Individual Permit For Wal-Mart
  • Wal-Mart Probably Can Build Without Corps Permit: Rob Roberts, Sun Newspaper, Interviews Berka, Corps of Engineers
  • White House Relaxes Rules On Protection of Wetlands
    Two Agencies Criticized Revision of Permit Laws
    : Article By Michael Grunwald In The Washington Post
  • Interior's Silence on Corps Plan Questioned
    Norton Never Submitted Fish and Wildlife Critique of Controversial Proposal to Relax Wetlands Rules
    : Article By Michael Grunwald In The Washington Post
  • More Detail On Willowbend Water Damage: City Protected Developer After Poor Pond Construction
  • Foes hope creek sinks Supercenter: Article By Rob Roberts In The Johnson County Sun
  • [Updated 1/13] Summary Of Severe Flooding, Erosion, and Silting Of Negro Creek: Official Documents, Photos, Neighborhood Impacts, Whom To Contact [& Watershed study Exec. Summary]
  • Resident Near Proposed Wal-Mart: There May Be Underground Streams
  • Willowbend Pays $100,000+ To Clean Up Overland Park Mess: What Will Wal-Mart Downstream Mess Cost?
  • Big-box foes want planning changes: Article By Rob Roberts In The Johnson County Sun
  • Resident Comments On KMart, Wal-Mart Decisions: "Local businesses traded for low wage jobs"
  • Safety, Pollution, and Flooding Downstream From Proposed Wal-Mart : Neighbors Continue To Write
  • Flooding Downstream From Proposed Wal-Mart: Overland Park Thought This Was Irrelevant
  • Corp of Engineer Letter To Wal-Mart: Says Wal-Mart Must Get A Permit, Wetlands Not Yet Evaluated
  • Wal-Mart OP Council Vote Wrap-Up:
    1. How Not To Run A City Council Meeting: Arrogant Violations Of Courtesy, Ethics, and City Policies
    2. Big Box Store Study: Wal-Mart Site Is Surrounded By Homes, Isolated From Highways; In Violation Of Overland Park Policy
    3. Professional Traffic Study Review: Major, Significant Flaws In Wal-Mart Sponsored Study
    4. Wal-Mart Wins City Council Vote: But Corp Of Engineers Opens Whole New Battlefront
  • Wal-Mart SuperCenter Violates Overland Park Land Use Policy: Johnson County South Coalition Letter To OP Governing Body Details Violation
  • South Overland Park gains support in Wal-Mart battle: Article By Cait Purinton In The Kansas City Star
  • Director of OP Planning Department Takes Responsibility For Water Issue Mistake: Roger Peterson Notifies City Council Of Error In Letter To Johnson County South Coalition
  • Overland Park Planning Deparment Refuses To Follow Policy: Johnson County South Coalition Uncovers "Oversight" On Water Issue
  • Protest Petition Against Wal-Mart Has Too Few Signatures: Neighbors Continue Preparing For November 19 City Council Meeting
  • OP Planning Commission Postpones Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart Asks For Continuance
  • Extreme Ford, Wal-Mart On OP Planning Commission Agenda : Neighbors Urged To Attend If At All Possible
  • Detailed Description From Neighbor Of Dangers To School Children : Our Officials Need To Do Something About Traffic Problems
  • Another Neighbor Confirms Danger To Children On 159th Street : Focuses On Antioch and 159th Intersection
  • Another Neighbor Confirms Danger To Children On Nall Ave : Focuses On Nall and 163rd
  • Increasing Danger To School Children At 159th and Nall : Needed Safety Improvements Not Being Made
  • Public Will Have A Voice In Wal-Mart Decision : Wal-Mart's Attempt To Forbid Public Participation Fails
  • "Wal-Mart dispute in Johnson County continues": Kansas City Star article by Cait Purinton
  • Wal-Mart Files Revised Application For 159th & Metcalf: Review By OP Planning Commission Likely In September
  • Update On The Wal-Mart Case: Sandy Hall Researches Case At Olathe Court House
  • "Store Wars" Scheduled For KCPT: Show Describes Small Town Battle Against Wal-Mart Articles Prior To Second Application by Wal-Mart

    Discussion With OP Planning Commissioner Dave White: AutoMall, Watershed, Wal-Mart, Metcalf Development and More

    Overland Park Responds To Wal-Mart Lawsuits: Full Legal Text Provided By City Attorney

    OP City Attorney Speaks About Wal-Mart Lawsuit: Treated As If Council Had Voted Unanimously Against Wal-Mart

    OP City Council President Speaks About Wal-Mart Lawsuit: Transportation Fees and an Odd Situation

    Landowner's Lawsuit Against OP On Line: Challenges City's Petition Statutes As Unconstitutional In Wal-Mart Battle

    Wal-Mart Lawsuit Against OP On Line: Calls Opposition To Wal-Mart Plan Unreasonable, Arbitrary, and Capricious; Challenges City's Right To Collect Development Fees

    "Lawsuits seek to overturn city's decision on Wal-Mart plan"KC Star Article by Cait Purinton

    "Johnson County neighborhood activists step up to the plate": "Hats off to the handful of Overland Park City Council members..." - KC Star Column by Dennis Boone

    "Overland Park council denies Wal-Mart Supercenter"KC Star Article by Cait Purinton

    "Wal-Mart debate has shady side"KC Star Article by Mike Hendricks

  • [return to top]
    Wal-Mart Articles Continued:

    Victory Over Wal-Mart!: Overland Park City Council Denies Wal-Mart Application

    Former OP Zoning Board Head Opposes Wal-Mart: "It was never intended that a Super Wal-Mart should be built there"

    Supreme Court Case Confirms OP Must Abide By Annexation Promises: Resolution 1896 for Stanley and Morse Cannot Be Ignored

    "Council should reject Wal-Mart plan"KC Star letter by Wendelyn Crosby

    Wal Mart Opposition in Full Swing - City Council Votes February 5. View Fact Sheet and Slide Show of Impact this development would have on rural transitional area.

    "Wal-Mart plan to go before Overland Park council"KC Star Article by Cait Purinton

    Neighborhood Groups/Wal-Mart at Impasse: December 6 Meeting Over Proposed SuperCenter at 159th/Metcalf

    Wal-Mart Agrees To Meeting Suggested By Neighbors: Interested Neighbors Should Attend Meeting (12/6/2000, 7pm, BV Library, 151st) To Hear Wal-Mart's Newest Plans,

    Wal-Mart Sticks With Original Meetings: Few, If Any, Expected To Show Up

    Wal-Mart Offers Neighborhood Meetings: Neighbors Agree To Meeting, Suggest Alternate Venue

    Parcel Map of Proposed Walmart: Also available - Aerial Photo

    "Wal-Mart proposal sent back to Overland Park planners": KC Star Article by John Shultz

    Fighting Wal-Mart at 159th & Metcalf: Includes how to contact City Council Members, specific objections

    Wal-Mart Protest Petition Confirmed Valid By OP Includes details on how to do it

    Wal-Mart Protest Petition Successfully Completed See Cover Letter To Overland Park For Details

    Kansas City Star WalMart Column:"Wal-Mart plan riles Overland Park neighbors" by Mike Hendricks

    NE Corner Of Metcalf & 159th Now In Play By Subway: Development Contingent Upon WalMart In NW Corner

    Minutes of the Overland Park Planning Commission of August 14 which pertained to the WalMart application for a SuperCenter at 159th & Metcalf

    Channel 41 Carries Video Coverage of WalMart: On-line version of video may be posted

    Kansas City Star WalMart Article:"Alignment of proposed Wal-Mart needs adjusting, commission says" by John Shultz

    Large Turnout For WalMart Hearing: WalMart Presentation To OP Slick But Unconvincing

    WalMart Super Center at 159th & Metcalf: Overland Park Planning Commission Will Discuss, Monday August 8, 1:30 PM. Neighborhoods Begin Reacting

    WalMart at 159th & Metcalf; Commercial Development at NW 69 & Metcalf: Overland Park Planning Commission Agenda, Monday July 24, 1:30 PM

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