Walmart: What's next?

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Technically the Walmart case, which kicked around on the docket of the Orange County Circuit Court for more than a year, will go down as a no decision. The board of supervisors will maintain their approval of the special use permit (SUP) allowing Walmart to build near Routes 3 and 20 was done legally and appropriately. The Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield and individual plaintiffs will maintain it was not. When Walmart decided it would no longer pursue a store on that site during county attorney Sharon Pandak's opening arguments last Tuesday, the argument became moot. The shock decision from America's largest retailer has left preservationists feeling like winners and county officials disappointed in losing their ideal spot for development.

"We're pretty shocked," said Lee Frame, District 5 Supervisor and board chairman. "[Walmart's decision] was very unexpected and we're not particularly happy about it. The county has been with Walmart all the way."

Frame said that from conversations he's had with Walmart vice president Eric Zorn, the decision was made to avoid an even longer legal battle in the appeals process....

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