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:
- 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;
- 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
- Development of resident directories (Here's how)
Following are articles about this subject.
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