Writings and observations

Next, forgiveness?

You may recall our December piece about the Wal-Mart conflict in Chelan, about the store built in contravention of city ordinances and rules, where the construction of the store and hiring of employees continued unabated while the lawsuit challenging the building continued. And continued unabated even after a judge had issued rulings against Wal-Mart.

It may be the first time a Wal-Mart store has actually been built, only to be stopped from opening. There is even a chance it will be torn down (which is more than a lot of empty Wal-Marts have been) – its critics say they will be seeking as much.

The basis for the stoppage sounds more picky than it is. The project started not a a Wal-Mart development (apparently at least) but as something called the Apple Blossom Center, for which the city signed off on a “planned development district” with specific terms. Those terms included a variety of commercial developments, with a maximum size limit of 50,000 square feet on any one. That limit, as the judge notes, was never changed by the city, which last fall stood by and watched Wal-Mart and its developer, Pacland, build a stand-issue 162,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store.

“Here,” Judge Lesley Allan concluded, “this court is left with the definite and firm conviction that the city erred in granting the two permits at issue.” That meant the court voided the city’s building and grading permits.

The store was supposed to open yesterday, at 7 a.m. And so it did – notwithstanding that Wal-Mart had and has no valid building permit for the store, notwithstanding a judge’s order issued only last week. Anyone else – even someone building their own home – would not be allowed to use or occupy the building under such conditions.

Wal-Mart, apparently, is beyond all that. Its stance seems effectively to be: Try and stop us. Permission? We need no permission; nor, for that matter, do we really need forgiveness . . .

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One Comment

  1. chocobot18 said:

    I vacation at Lake Chelan every summer and I have to say that this Wal-Mart is completely unnecessary for the town. It’s small, charming, and completely ready for summer tourists. A Wal-Mart will hurt the summer only downtown. And now they open anyways? Seriously unfortunate.

    January 31, 2007

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