Recently, members went before DeKalb County’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The board did not rule as they wished.
“It did not go in our favor,” said Louise Runyon, co-chair of Good Growth DeKalb. “We did not expect it to — but taking this internal administrative county step is a precursor to taking the matter to Superior Court.”
Runyon estimated they had about 100 supporters at the meeting, which was supposed to be an appeal to challenge the building permit issued by the county in December.
Even though Selig has announced it is still going forward with the construction of the store, Runyon said her organization will continue to fight against the development, which she mentions will bring not only unwanted traffic in the tight corridor, but also the continued worsening of road conditions along North Decatur and Medlock roads.
“We are definitely moving forward,” she said. “They have put the word out that it was a done deal and we consider that completely erroneous. Walmarts get turned away around the country all the time. So we’re not disheartened, we were taking a step we needed to take.”
In a recent statement, Bill Wertz, a spokesman for Walmart, said they are looking forward to being located in the community.
“We are delighted to be partners with Selig Enterprises in this retail redevelopment, which we believe will be very positive for the community,” said Wertz. “Walmart is looking forward to adding 300 new jobs and millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the county by being part of this project. We are also excited about offering the community another option for fresh, affordable food and other merchandise.”
Runyon said her organization has come too far to turn back now, and they have taken on the desire of the community as a certain kind of mandate. She added they have had more than 4,000 community members sign their petition.
“We will continue to take to the streets and work with our elected officials,” said Runyon. “But we definitely will not say ‘that’s it.’ We feel like Walmart is not the answer. Good Growth DeKalb stands for sustainable and smart growth in DeKalb — small, medium-sized local businesses and we feel Walmart is the antitheses of sustainable growth.”