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Archive for the ‘Walmart’ Category

Wilderness Walmart approved

Around 1:00 a.m. this morning Supervisors in Orange County voted 4-1 to allow Walmart to build on the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County.  The vote came after more than 100 citizens spoke on the proposal at the public hearing.  The vote was not a surprise since 3 of the Supervisors, a majority, had publicly expressed their support for the proposal for many months during the process.

Read an article on the public hearing and vote from the Washington Post here.

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Good Letter to the Editor

Today’s Free Lance-Star ran a great Letter to the Editor about the need for sensible planning at the battlefield.

Step back, Orange, and plan development

August 7, 2009 12:36 am

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Soldiers who fell during the Battle of the Wilderness are laid to rest in Fredericksburg.

Step back, Orange, and plan development

I suppose I should know what I am missing.

Why would the Orange County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors look past the fact that there are owners of the land along the State Route 3 corridor who are willing to cooperate with the county and one another, to plan and create a model entranceway into our county?

They’d do this by moving commercial development back off Route 3, perhaps along a parallel road, giving residents the desired box stores (including Wal-Mart), shops, restaurants, and even a much-needed hotel, without creating the probability of a many-mile-long blight forever replacing the existing woodland along the road’s northern border.

Much of the resistance is not to the Wal-Mart per se, but stems from the fact that Orange County residents recognize that once construction on a major project such as this has begun and the county has crossed the Rubicon, there is no turning back–and we will inherit in perpetuity an enlarging strip mall, with all its ugliness and problems, as the remaining parcels of land along Route 3 are developed.

Why not step back, continue the creative planning process, do the job right, and create a model northern gateway to Orange County of which we can be proud?

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Send a letter to Walmart

Central Park Walmart CloseupUse the link below to send your thoughts to Walmart about their proposal to build a Supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield.  Let them know that a Civil War battlefield is not the place for a Walmart and that large-scale commercial development does not belong across the street from a National Park.

Click here to send a letter to Walmart.

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed Walmart on July 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Orange County High School auditorium.  The hearing is the final opportunity for public comment on the issue and the last step before the Supervisors cast their votes to approve or deny the 138,000-square foot Supercenter.

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Walmart’s proposal to build a Supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield is now moving on to the Orange County Board of Supervisors who will make the final decision on whether or not to grant permission for Walmart and 3 other pad sites to build on the battlefield.  According to an article in this Saturday’s Free Lance-Star, a public hearing before the Supervisors is expected in late July or early August.  After the public hearing, the Board of Supervisors will make a decision on the Walmart.  Last Thursday night the Planning Commission voted 5-4 to recommend approval of the store to the Board of Supervisors.  However, the Planning Commission’s recommendation is non-binding and the Board of Supervisors is free to vote against the Commission’s wishes.

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gordanbldg-200wThe Orange County Planning Commission is expected to vote tonight on whether or not they recommend approval or denial of a Special Use Permit that would allow Walmart to build a Supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield.  The public hearing has already closed for the Planning Commission so public comments will not be allowed this evening, but the public is able to attend the meeting.  The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. in the Gordon Building (112 W. Main Street) in downtown Orange.

Planning Commission members will hear from Walmart officials again tonight for the third time after previous meetings on May 21 and June 11, and it is expected that at the end of the meeting the Commission will vote on the Walmart proposal.  After the Planning Commission makes its recommendation the proposal goes to the Board of Supervisors for a final decision.  The Supervisors do not have to heed the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

Soon after the Planning Commission makes its decision the Board of Supervisors will schedule a final public hearing on the issue.

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That is the question posed by an article online from the U.S. News and World Report today.  And it really is one of the most important questions in this whole debate.  There is only one Wilderness Battlefield in the world, and Orange County is fortunate to have such a unique treasure that draws thousands and thousands of visitors each year.  On the flip side, there are more than 7,800 Walmart stores in the world — including 71 Supercenters in Virginia alone!  Which begs the question, why is Orange County so determined to give preferential treatment to Walmart over the Wilderness Battlefield?

The battlefield helps  make Orange County a unique destination, especially with a National Park Service presence, but if they construct a Walmart at the gateway to the county it will end up with the same character as every other big-box development in the country.  There is a place in Orange County for Walmart, but it should not be on the Wilderness Battlefield.  Visitors come from all over the country to visit the battlefield and explore Orange County’s history, but people do not go out of their way to visit a Walmart.

It comes down to the county, and Walmart, having a proper recognition of the historic significance of the battlefield, and choosing to do the right thing by relocating the Walmart superstore to another, less historically sensitive, site in Orange County.  If the Walmart store were to be located elsewhere in the county and not negatively impact the battlefield, then everyone would win.  It seems like an easy decision.

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