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Good Growth DeKalb: Suburban Plaza Walmart Lawsuit Imminent

The group also plans to protest in front of the forthcoming development Friday.

Good Growth DeKalb, the North Decatur group fighting the construction of a Walmart Supercenter in Suburban Plaza, told residents Sunday a lawsuit to stop the international retailer is imminent after the shopping center's owners were granted a permit last week to begin construction.

"DeKalb County finally granted Selig Enterprises their first permit (for land disturbance) this past week," the group wrote in an email to supporters. "This means that we have 30 days to take legal action."

The group has said for months on its website that its lawyers, hired in February, have identified an issue in the development plans to challenge legally. They have not clarified that publicly, however, saying only on their site: "In the face of the county’s antiquated zoning laws, which date from the 1950s and give free range to developers, this is a huge piece of news."

The group plans to protest the construction again in front of the shopping center at the intersection of Scott Boulevard, North Decatur Road and Medlock Road from 4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, according to the email.

The Walmart Supercenter is part of a larger renovation of the aging Suburban Plaza. Selig Enterprises, the shopping center's owners, have said the Walmart is critical to luring strong brands to revitalize the plaza.

More to come...

Deanne December 03, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Hi newest Deanne (Gosh, that's 4 new Deannes lately!! What are the odds?!), So, since you've donated, can you tell us how GGD's tax write-off works? GGD's site says they've attached themselves to AiJalon Inc., a non-profit for folks with Alzheimer’s. Since AiJalon's businesses aren't located anywhere near Suburban Plaza, the arrangement seems kinda shady and, well, lower than low. I mean, how despicable is it for GGD to rope in a group that's serving folks with much bigger struggles than Walmart vs. NO Walmart? And isn't it also potentially risking AiJalon's non-profit status to provide tax receipts for such an unrelated cause?
Deanne December 03, 2012 at 08:54 PM
To see Selig's exciting plans for Suburban Plaza: http://www.medlockpark.org/search/label/Suburban%20Plaza
Joanne December 03, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Come join the fight Deanne Thomas. You know you want to.
John Kramer December 03, 2012 at 09:44 PM
And that is the correct way to oppose WM. vote with your feet. I will never shop there but I vehemently oppose frivolous lawsuits. It is a slippery slope when we can dictate who a landlord can and cannot lease to unless it violates zoning laws. My politics are quite the opposite of the Walton family so I spend my few dollars elsewhere. I hope the lawyers are working pro bono but I doubt it.
Deanne December 03, 2012 at 10:05 PM
How do you know it's frivolous? I wouldn't think the community would want to waste money on something that was frivolous. And don't you have to have a legal basis in order to sue? Of course, the court could rule it frivolous and throw it out, but that's up to a judge to decide based on the merits of the lawsuit. On the other hand, if it is not frivolous, the suit may be something that would help protect the community. They are a myriad of things that can go wrong -- and if an organization caught something early on, I'd rather it be worked out now than pay the price later. While I agree Walmart isn't going away any time soon, many, many communities have turned away Walmart. The people who live around the Lindbergh shopping center in Atlanta did just a few weeks ago.
Deanne December 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I agree Alexis! It's a shame that the Seligs let the little center go until they got into multiple development deals with Walmart. :-(
Deanne December 03, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Not when it ties up traffic (even more), brings in crime (I hate to say it but it's true), has around-the-clock deliveries, and who knows what else. Plus, it's not an ethical company -- it has already lied to neighbors. A new center at what cost? Not one I wish to pay.
Deanne December 03, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Yes, pretty pictures that show a bunch of trees where the 149,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter will be located. How sick!
kirsten December 03, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I plan to support GGD. As a resident living less than a mile from the proposed building site, I would prefer not to have a 149,000 square foot building at an already burdened intersection. The "anything is better than what's there" is kind of a sad attitude. And yes, it may be small-town snobbery on my part, but I would also prefer that Decatur not have a mega store as its gateway. I like small-town Decatur. I know I can voice my opinion by spending my dollars where I wish. But I would really hate to see the largest retailer on earth chip away at our local businesses.
Mary Coleen CrawfordC December 04, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Why do they not locate up Lawrenceville Highway in the old Cub Foods Store - practically vacant area - with much more space? Makes far more sense! Priscilla
Deanne December 04, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Hi Deanne #4- We sure view Walmart differently! If you'd ever check out a new Walmart, you might find you actually like it. (And on crime, it's a flat fact that Walmart doesn't tolerate shoplifters. That's a BIG plus to me!)
Deanne December 04, 2012 at 04:41 AM
(Deanne #4-- You'd be surprised to know how small GGD's “community” actually is.)
Deanne December 04, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Deanne #4-- Bright side: The tenants have paid far below market rates while the property's been idling. Some of them wouldn't have been able to stay open or start their businesses without it.
Deanne December 04, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Deanne #4-- There will be plenty of trees and plantings throughout Suburban Plaza after it's redeveloped. AND a Walmart! :0)
Forward.... December 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Walmart is a scab on society! When you dig beneath the top layer of what they actually represent, it would sicken you. Most of their workers are not full time and live on public assistance to survive, no matter what their talking heads come on tv to propagandize. Workers are threatened and cheated out of overtime pay. Their 'goods' are from China or some other country where workers die due to inhuman conditions or excessive work for little pay. They pollute our waters with biohazzard chemicals, because of inproper storage of these goods we buy for lawn care,etc. Our American workers get paid only a couple of hundred dollars/year above the poverty level and these greedy bastards, the Walton's, make billions of $$$ per year in profit, more than 100 million Americans make a year, pay little to no taxes and some of you think is a good idea because of what's there at the plaza now!! Small business keep their money in local banks that regenerate the community. Walmart and the likes, take their profits offshore, hidden in foriegn accounts, but use the roads, police and other tax payers monies for their greedy profits. So just because it's 'big and shinny', doesn't make it better!
Joanne December 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
So Deanne Thomas, you're happy that small businesses were given an opportunity to make it at the plaza? You care about small businesses? Seems inconsistent with your rabid defense of a Walmart supercenter. Also, to your other point about the community that Good Growth DeKalb represents, it has a huge membership. You are not privy to the list, so why do you make false accusations? Why do you continue to peddle defamatory comments about Good Growth DeKalb? If you have a different opinion, fine, but your comments are very often false and misleading, and possibly libelous. And your comment about shoplifters at Walmart lays bare just how utterly stupid you are.
Staci December 04, 2012 at 05:53 PM
What? That means that people live around the Little Five Points - Moreland Avenue area are wealthier than people who live in Decatur and surrounding areas? That's not true at all. And I'd rather there be nothing there than a Walmart. No one was hoping for it in the first place. No one asked for a mega-store to be built in that tiny shopping center.
Staci December 04, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I can speak to the crime. Yes, Walmart is so tough on profit loss that a security guard most likely killed an alleged shoplifter in Lithonia last week. That's not the kind of tough-on-crime policies I want in my neighborhood. Walmart has a very serious, nationwide problem with crimes commited against people inside the stores and especially outside of them in parking lots, underground decks (the proposal for SP) and in the shopping centers where the stores are located.
Staci December 04, 2012 at 06:01 PM
If that's the case, then Selig should be happy to provide accurate depictions of the center at multiple viewpoints -- from the air, from the road at standing height, from inside the center looking at the store. But instead the company gives people a clump of beutiful flowering trees. I agree -- that stinks, it's sneaky and it's dishonest.
Staci December 04, 2012 at 06:23 PM
After cutting healthcare benefits for employees this time last year, Walmart has now announced it will make further cuts. Anyone who doesn't consistently work 30 hours a week is subject to not being eligible to qualify for health insurance under the new policy that goes into effect in January. What does this mean for you and me? It means that we will financially support the largest private employer in the world, who has 1.4 million workers in the United States, by shouldering the burden of healthcare for it's workers who will turn to taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid and "Obamacare." Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/01/walmart-health-care-policy-medicaid-obamacare_n_2220152.html
David S December 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Staci: This is not a Walmart issue. You will see more and more businesses doing exactly the same thing in the near future. A nationwide suvey conducted by Deloitte found that almost 10% of businesses plan to drop medical benefits for their employees, due to new ACA regulations. This survey was taken before the Supreme Court ruling on the ACA. Welcome to the world of Obamacare. To the point of this article, although GGD hates Walmart for a number of reasons, I don’t think employee health benefit coverage will be the subject of their super secret legal strategy. But their efforts will, no doubt, continue to be entertaining.
Robert December 05, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Regarding Deanne's comment below, I would love it if she provided confirmed insights on the size of GGD's community. She seems to have access to information that others don't. Full disclosure: I'm pretty confident GGD's community is a lot bigger than the universe of Walmart supporters in our area.
Robert December 05, 2012 at 06:15 PM
GES, what areas are you including in the "Suburban Plaza neighborhood"? Your estimation of the spending power of areas like Decatur, Emory, Druid Hills, etc. seems to be based in something other than reality. Also, Medlock, while not super wealthy, has been a reliably solid middle class neighborhood for decades. One major reason Selig, the owner of the property, pushed so hard for Walmart is because Walmart is going to invest in underground parking, thus allowing for the three football fields-sized building. Selig should have invested money in its property when Decatur's rebirth happened, but they chose to keep Suburban run down until they found a tenant willing to foot the bill for its renovation. I think your estimation of the neighborhood is a reflection of Selig's poor property management.
MikeS December 05, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I also heard Wal-Mart was responsible for puppy mills, driving over the fiscal cliff, and Hurricane Sandy. Keep that evil machine out of my neighborhood and give me a wholesome, ethical company like Big Lots anyday...
Ms. December 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
At least with "Obamacare" those who go without it now and in the future, will be able to actually get it. Until recently I was one of those, and it's a very scary feeling.
Katie December 07, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Katie - Yay! Deanne. We are going to donate to GGD too. I'm not sure why the other Deanne is so against GGD, but I've been following this story for awhile and I just find it VERY odd the visceral things that she is putting out. It just doesn't make sense. I've talked with GGD and the one thing that stands out above Walmart and Selig is that i find the people with GGD to have a passion for keeping our area great. It is their driving force, pure and simple. We need more groups like this that care about thier community whether they win or not.
Katie December 07, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Are you kidding me??? Have you seen the homes right behind Suburban Plaza? The houses that line that wall start at 400K and go up.
Katie December 07, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Here here! Walmart always brings more crime to a neighborhood. Google "walmart crime rates" and you will be chilled by the results. They are great at shoplifters in the store, but TERRIBLE for outside the store and bringing crime to a neighborhood.
Robert December 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM
In April 2011, the following was Walmart's, and The Gap's, position on improving safety standards at their garment factories. One hundred and twelve workers were killed in one of these Bangladeshi factories in November. Low prices have a high cost, MikeS. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, a Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing, told attendees the company wouldn’t share the cost, according to Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, who attended the gathering. Kalavakolanu and her counterpart at Gap reiterated their position in a report folded into the meeting minutes, obtained by Bloomberg News. “Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” they said in the document. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments” ("Wal-Mart Nixed Paying Bangladesh Suppliers to Fight Fire," Bloomberg News, December 5, 2012).
Tom Doolittle December 14, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Is "Good Growth Dekalb" following this story abput WalMart being axed in Athens? http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-12-12/developer-nixes-walmart-continues-downtown-athens-project It'd be interesting for some student to do an econ dev research project (demographic data, taxes, business revenue) on why Athens would respond to public pressure and DeKalb wouldn't--then make an assessment as to whether City of Decatur would be similar to Athens.

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