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Pullman Wal-Mart advances

Thu., June 5, 2008, midnight

Wal-Mart has cleared another legal roadblock to building a controversial superstore in south Pullman.

A Washington state appeals court has dismissed a challenge to the proposed 223,000-square-foot store by a citizens group concerned about its affects on traffic and businesses.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals this week rejected an appeal by the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development, which had contested the city’s approval of the site plan and its determination the development was not likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts.

“We are overjoyed; we have been kind of patiently waiting on this one,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jennifer Spall. “As far as we’re concerned, this is the last legal straw, and we are going to proceed with construction.”

PARD members will meet today to plan a new strategy, which “may or may not involve further legal matters,” said spokesman T.V. Reed.

“PARD knew that we were up against a huge monopoly, and while we’re disappointed, we’re not surprised by the decision; we continue to figure out new ways to fight Wal-Mart,” Reed said. “We continue to believe that Bishop Boulevard is a terrible site with huge traffic problems.”

The decision came more than three years after consulting company CLC Associates, which has a Spokane Valley office, applied to the city of Pullman for approval to build the store on a 28-acre wheat field on the south side of Bishop Boulevard.

PARD appealed to the state court after a Whitman County Superior Court judge and the city’s hearing examiner upheld the city’s decision to allow development.

Once Wal-Mart hires a contractor, it will take up to 15 months to build and outfit the store, Spall said. “We were hoping to have this in 2009, but it may be a 2010 store.”


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