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UPDATE: Residents fight against Whitehall Walmart

2:15 PM, Sep 6, 2013   |    comments
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UPDATE (11:30 a.m. Friday)-- In response to an opposition group's appeal of the site plan for a proposed Supercenter, Walmart contacted WZZM 13 Friday with this statement:

"Unfortunately, some of the louder voices in this debate don't represent the majority opinion. The customer voice is clear and demonstrated every time we open a new location as thousands of local residents show their support by shopping our store. We believe this Supercenter can be a solution to residents who want a job or access to affordable options. We look forward to serving the residents of Whitehall Township."
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WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A citizens group in northern Muskegon County, formed to fight a proposed Walmart, is taking the next step in stopping the company from expanding into their backyards.

"Back Off Walmart, Not Our Town" or BOW-NOT is the community group fighting a proposed superstore.

After two weeks, the group's lawyer has a five page appeal ready. And Thursday Tracy Dobson was happy to deliver it to Whitehall Township Supervisor Chuck Schmitigal.

The appeal cost BOW-NOT $1,650; that fee was set after township leaders were told an appeal would be imminent. So Dobson made sure township officials knew the fee was being appealed too.

BOW-NOT believes Walmart should be considered a shopping center because of the variety of services it offers customers at one location.

"Landscaping, and nursery, hair dresser, clothing, whatever, all of these things in one facility," says Tracy Dobson of BOW-NOT.

In Whitehall Township shopping centers need special use permits. Last month the Whitehall Township Planning Commission approved Walmart site plan.

BOW-NOT members think the Township's decision to consider the project a single store... not shopping center.

"We are asking the board of Whitehall Township to reverse the decision of the planning commission," says Dobson.

BOW-NOT also claims the township did not give the Muskegon County Road Drain Commissioners sufficient time to study the impact a Walmart store might have on streets and drainage.

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