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Opposition to Wal-Mart Ramps Up, Proposal Meeting Set

Officials with Wal-Mart will present their plans in a public hearing at 7 p.m. March 28 at Gifford Elementary, 8332 Northwestern Ave.

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.

Dennis W Klemick March 28, 2011 at 03:48 AM
I think JW could possibly be on village board, from what I here the village board only really cares about money. As far as CCERP is concerned, they do want Business , but to stick to the land use plan. This land use plan was developed by the board with alot of input from many long time caledonians. When we let these zoning changes start to happen in single family areas ,whats to stop it from happining in your area. I'm all for businesses to move in to Caledonia ,But do it in the right fashion.Stay in commercial property areas. I understand that the people that were approached by Walmart to have option to buy their Thanks property , they were offered absorbent $ I guess you can't blame them. Only time will tell,Hope to see many people at tomorrows meeting at Gifford School. Dennis Klemick SR.
patchreader 123 March 28, 2011 at 07:11 AM
JW: You are truly a piece of work. First, you make the below insulting statement: "The houses in that area that have the signs up (with or without the signs) would only improve the look of that stretch of 31 if they went away." Then, you being up another blogger's personal financial issues on an open web site??? 1) What on earth does this individual's purported financial issues have to do with the financial impact of opening a Walmart in caledonia? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. 2) Although you will likely claim such that information is "public" due to its availability in court records, you nonetheless crossed a line by bringing such irrelevent information up in a blog. Such activity on your part is completely uncalled for, and can arguably be considered a violation of the terms of this blog (either violates another blogger's privacy; or is harassing). The mere fact that you would take the time to look up some blogger's financial history in court records, when such information is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand (whether or not to open a Walmart in Caledonia), is very telling. I initially assumed you were lacking in common sense and credibility. I was wrong. Instead, this blog is apparently some kind of a sick game to you - making inciteful statements in a public forum with the goal of upsetting others. This includes the authors themselves of various Patch articles dealing with other subject matter.
patchreader 123 March 28, 2011 at 07:12 AM
Denise, I beg you. Please ban this fool from the Patch blogs. Let him take his sick game elsewhere.
JW March 28, 2011 at 12:11 PM
I do not consider any of this a game. I consider it an important topic for the community and I would hate to see people swayed by some group that makes claims without the counter points being expressed. I am sorry for what I said about the houses (in terms of "with or without") I took that one step too far... but I think it was still relatively tame overall and were within a context that was not about bashing the owners but trying to point out how I think it is strange for them to say they are concerned for preserving the green and earthy nature of Caledonia while blighting their area with those ugly signs. It is all about the double talk and that, as I believe I have seen through this blog, with many of the CCREP supporter it does not really seem to be about the things they are listing, it is simply about the Wal-mart coming into THEIR neighborhood. Again, I understand that part of it... but the issue is bigger than just them in the future growth of all of Caledonia... and no matter where any retail goes, it will affect someone.
JW March 28, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I considered the public record of someone making veiled threats to be fair game regarding profile. I will have to review the TOS to see if that is spelled out. You want to claim I must be a member of the village board, which is untrue and baseless. I merely pointed out what is available for the public. News departments use and report based on that info all the time. I removed the posts anyway.

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