A hearing in the case to decide whether or not Walmart can build a supercenter adjacent to a Civil War battlefield was scheduled for yesterday, but delayed after a death in the family of one of the plaintiff's attorneys. I note the delay not for its news value, but to refresh our memories concerning the case. From the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star:
Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield and six local residents are suing the Orange Board of Supervisors over the board's approval of a special-use permit for a 138,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter on a 51-acre commercially zoned parcel a quarter-mile from the intersection of State Routes 3 and 20 near the Wilderness battlefield. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the owners and developer of the property were later added as defendants. The plaintiffs allege that the supervisors failed to comply with the county's comprehensive plan, that the county's zoning ordinance is invalid and that there were procedural defects in the Planning Commission's votes on the permit. The county contends that all legal requirements were met. The suit filed more than a year ago is still in the discovery process, with each side taking depositions from potential witnesses. Over the past week, the plaintiffs have announced plans to have historic-preservation experts testify that the proposed Walmart would be located on part of the Civil War battlefield, a tactic that Judge Bouton has already warned would be limited. The motions that Bouton will hear deal with several contentious issues. One is the scope of documents requested by the plaintiffs. According to court papers, the county has turned over 13,000 pages of documents. It has refused, however, to provide personnel records and documents it says are covered by attorney-client privilege. Also at issue is the county's unsuccessful attempt to get questions answered by the six resident plaintiffs in the case. Pandak alleges that the residents drafted their complaint "without any facts but instead based on opinion." Pandak's has also filed a motion to quash the plaintiffs' bid to question the four supervisors who voted to approve the permit, saying the information sought wouldn't be admissible in court. The plaintiffs say that testimony is critical to their case.
Now if Sam Walton has been a Muslim... Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.


  1. raybury says:

    No one has said the zoning was wrong for the Ground Zero mosque, many of us object to the inevitable symbolism. Wal-Mart doesn’t forbid building new Targets or maintenance on existing ones in areas where is dominates.

    On the other hand, it does seek whatever it can get, including special zoning, tax breaks, and so forth. Which makes building “on a 51-acre commercially zoned parcel a quarter-mile from the intersection of State Routes 3 and 20” none too surprising.

    Yes, the site is near the battlefield. So are hundreds of houses. So are the highways, which though not exactly Interstates (watch for traffic lights and speed traps on VA 20), are arterial to that part of the state: On a recent trip, I was near the University of Virginia, and when I routed home to Northern Virginia, these highways and this intersection were part of the route my GPS planned. UVA and other nearby schools get manyof their students from the NoVA population center, meaning thousands of students would pass by this point.

  2. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Raybury,

    First, thank you for getting my reference. I was afraid that the ground-zero mosque issue was so last week that no one would remember it. Is the story even in the Faux News rotation anymore?

    Second, I can’t give you a link or cite a source, but given time and monetary incentive to invest that time I have no doubt that I could come up a number of variations on the quote: the mosque should never have made it past the zoning board.

    On the matter of the Battle of the Wilderness site, my read is that residents are concerned that what is at present a relatively peaceful and somewhat rural location will become a commercial nightmare with traffic snarls, noise and associated construction that will detract from historical importance of the battlefield.

    Just because a business can build doesn’t mean it ought to build. (And yes, I’d feel the same way about a Target.)



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