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Good Growth DeKalb Sues County Over Walmart Permit

The group claims its appeal of a construction permit was incorrectly heard and dismissed by the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals.

Good Growth DeKalb, the local group fighting the construction of a Walmart Supercenter in North Decatur, sued DeKalb County on Friday for granting the international retail giant a construction permit.

The suit, filed in DeKalb County Superior Court, contends that the county violated its own ordinances when it heard the group's administrative appeal of the permit issuance in January with the Zoning Board of Appeals rather than the Technical Board of Appeals, which Good Growth DeKalb claims is required by county law. The county does not currently have a Technical Board of Appeals.

At the February hearing, attorneys with Good Growth DeKalb also said county ordinances related to trucking, trees and hydrology were not followed when the permit was issued for the retail store in Suburban Plaza on North Decatur Road. County attorneys disagreed and also said those issues were covered under the project's land disturbance permit, which the Zoning Board of Appeals has dominion over and ruled correctly on.

The suit names Good Growth DeKalb, Abhay and Kristina Mishra and Tijen Cirig as plaintiffs, said Louise Runyon, a Good Growth DeKalb spokesperson. The Mishras and Cirig are both residents who live directly behind Suburban Plaza. Kristina Mishra spokes before the zoning board last month and complained about persistent noise at night from the shopping center and her fears that would worsen if a Walmart Supercenter is built there.

“If a Walmart and a loading dock would be back there, those issues would increase exponentially," Runyon said Friday.

Bill Wertz, a Walmart spokesperson, declined to comment on the suit specifically since Walmart is not included in it.

"Although this small group has held many demonstrations and made every effort to block progress on this project, there is strong and broad support for a new Walmart that will bring badly needed job, tax revenue and economic development to DeKalb County," Wertz said in an email to Patch. "Hundreds of new jobs and a new option for area residents to find affordable food and other items mean a lot in very difficult economic times. It will be unfortunate if there are further delays, since many people are looking forward to the day our new store is open in a revitalized Suburban Plaza."

Representatives with the county and Selig Enterprises, which owns Suburban Plaza, did not immediately return calls for comment.

Related stories:

  • Good Growth DeKalb Loses Challenge to Block Walmart
  • Suburban Plaza Walmart Construction to Begin in Early 2013
  • Good Growth DeKalb Explains Local Walmart Support Claims
  • COLUMN: I Will Never Shop at Walmart. Period.
  • Anti-Walmart Group Marches from Suburban Plaza to Downtown Decatur
  • Anti-Walmart Attorney: 'This Is a War for Your Community'
  • Anti-Walmart Group Hires Attorneys to Investigate Suit Against Retailer
rc March 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM
When are we going to know the other merchants coming to suburban? Any contingent on Walmart getting final approval?
Jonathan Cribbs March 15, 2013 at 11:48 PM
I'll look into that next week, rc. Selig Enterprises representatives have said repeatedly that many interested retailers and other businesses were interested because of Walmart's intention to open there.

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