A number of residents have launched a public campaign against a proposed Wal-Mart development.
Earlier this month, an official with Wal-Mart told Village Board that they would like to build a Wal-Mart -anchored commercial development, including an 115,000 square foot Wal-Mart, at the Northwest Corner of Four Mile Road and Highway 31. No formal plans were presented at that meeting. However, a public meeting has been slated for Wal-Mart officials to give a formal proposal to the public at 7 p.m. Monday, March 28 at Gifford Elementary, 8332 Northwestern Ave.
Meanwhile, a group called the Caledonia Coalition for Responsible Economic Planning, has printed anti-Wal-Mart signs and buttons, put up a Facebook page called “No Wal-Mart in Caledonia,” distributed fliers accusing the board of holding a meeting illegally and not giving enough notice for the March 1 meeting, and made a website under the group’s name.
Village President Ron Coutts said he’s already gotten phone calls from people saying he’s trying to rush the project through, but the Board has yet to hear a formal proposal and they haven’t taken any action, he said.
Coutts said the meeting was not a violation of open meeting laws when they went into closed session and that they had given more than the required 24-hour notice for the meeting.
“In the closed session we wondered about the process and how we were going to go about this with regards to the legal process,” Coutts said. “Wal-Mart (officials were) not there and the Board had a right to go into closed session. There was no discussion about money.”
Coutts said he has yet to make a decision on how he would vote on the project because he hasn’t heard the formal proposal.
He also explained that officials from Wal-Mart are paying for the cost of renting the school and for six police officers to be present during the meeting. They are also requesting that if people do bring signs, that they sit in the back of the room so that people can see.
“We’ll be hearing about the details on Monday for the first time and we want to hear the whole story so that we can make an informed decision,” Coutts said.
At the public hearing the Board will not be making any decisions.
“I’m not sure if the people making the presentation will be taking questions or they’ll break up into small groups,” Coutts said.
In our next story, we'll talk to the people involved with the Caledonia Coalition for Responsible Economic Planning.