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Virginia State Supreme Court Ruling Halts a Wal-Mart Supercenter

| Written by Justin Dahlheimer | No Comments | Updated on Mar 2, 2009 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

The grassroots group, Blacksburg United for Responsible Growth (BURG), is celebrating a Virginia Supreme Court decision that impedes Wal-Mart’s entry into its community.

The Virginia State Supreme Court ruled that a planned, 186,000-square-foot supercenter is subject to Ordinance 1450, requiring a special-use permit for new retail structures over 80,000 square feet. BURG and the Blacksburg Town Council had appealed to Virginia State Supreme Court in response lower courts’ rulings in favor of Wal-Mart’s right to build without a special-use permit.

Thanks to BURG’s ability to mobilize and organize the community, Ordinance 1450 passed unanimously, allowing the City the ability to more strictly regulate and disallow large retail projects. Ordinance 1450 was enacted in 2007, a year after the Town Council approved a rezoning that made way for the supercenter, creating the controversy over the applicability of the ordinance. The Town Council has since voted to lower the size-cap on Ordinance 1450 to 50,000 square feet.

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About Justin Dahlheimer

Justin Dahlheimer is a researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and the author of the reports, “Balancing Budgets by Raising Depletion Taxes” and “The Benefits of North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law.”

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