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“In pursuit of cheaper stuff, Vermonters need to be especially careful not to overload their winding roads and covered bridges, not to ruin their green rolling landscapes and not to empty out their small historic downtowns. More than a quarter of the state’s income comes from tourism, and nobody’s going to mail home a postcard of Wal-Mart.”

Dear Friends of Responsible Land-use and Local Economies,

It is with regret that we have to tell you that the Supreme Court of Vermont has returned a decision in favor of the JLD Properties St. Albans Walmart.
As it is written, the decision indicates a disregard for citizen access within the local permit process, not to mention for the validity of that process itself.
The judges acknowledged the egregious nature of conflicts of interest that occurred in the local permit process, which is the only level at which ordinary citizens may participate without devoting considerable financial resources to the effort. By ruling that those conflicts of interest do not matter because of the “de novo” nature of the Environmental Court hearing, they are saying essentially that the local permit is meaningless.
We sincerely hope for the best possible outcome for our communities, and we trust that the careful scrutiny that we will apply to Mr. Davis’ St. Albans Walmart, both during the construction phase and throughout its operation, will serve to ensure that this will be the most scrupulously operated Walmart store in history, and that none of the issues of traffic, secondary growth, store closings and environmental degradation that we fear will be allowed to ensue.
Please feel free to contact us for updates on the unfolding Walmart story in our community; and look for bulletins on this site.  We would like to offer our experiences to other communities facing similar challenges so that they may have the benefit of a fully documented community transformation record, from the first shovel-full to the inevitable closure.________________________________________________________________________________________________

As of October 16, 2013, Walmart is a reality in our little town.  Now we recommit our efforts to monitoring its behavior and impacts, in order to share that information with all the other communities out there where Walmart seeks to do business.

It is our sincere hope that the more than ten years we spent attempting to prevent their location in our town and educating the community as to Walmart’s business practices have at least served to prepare the local economy for the challenge it now faces.

We are optimistic that our arguments were not completely wasted, since the developer has added landscaping and finish details to the project that were not in the original plans.  We believe that he, at least, is anxious to make a better impression on St. Albans than has been made by Walmarts throughout the country.

If Walmart is wise, it will learn to do business here in what is, for Walmart at least, a completely revolutionary way; observing fair competitive practices with regard to the local economy; treating its employees’ well and respecting their right to organize ;  putting their corporate money where their mouth has lately been, by redoubling their efforts to source from domestic and particularly local suppliers.

We know as Walmart does, that how Walmart behaves will be how the rest of large retail behaves. On their corporate shoulders rests responsibility for much of the U.S. economy…and now ALL of our local economy.

If Walmart disregards those responsibilities; if every claim of only positive impacts made during the permit process is not upheld in practice here in St. Albans, know that we will not rest until those violations of trust have been shared as broadly as possible.

We invite you to follow our “Editor’s Blog” to read how Franklin County  changes after Walmart…and don’t forget to visit www.sprawl-busters.com to read all the latest news of Walmart resistance, together with legendary Walmart opponent, Al Norman’s powerful blog.