816 Business

April 22, 2014

Lee’s Summit wins Wal-Mart store zoning lawsuit

A couple living in the area contested approval by the City Council, but a Jackson County judge says they live too far away to merit a court remedy.

A Jackson County judge has agreed with Lee’s Summit that a couple suing the city over a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter didn’t have standing to sue because their property is too far away.

Judge Kenneth Garrett issued his ruling April 14 in the case of Richard and Paula McMillin. They challenged the rezoning to permit construction of the store at 3410 S.W. Market St. in south Lee’s Summit.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had put construction on hold for about a year while waiting for resolution of the case. One judge had dismissed it, but the McMillins appealed and got the case reinstated in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Garrett’s ruling said the couple’s that claim their property is in “close proximity” was insufficient to allow them a court remedy.

The McMillins’ address is 2.1 miles from the Wal-Mart site with a linear distance of 1.96 miles, or 2.33 miles traveling by street. The judge said that is much farther than the 1.2 miles that a Missouri Court of Appeals once deemed “too remote” from a plaintiff in a similar case.

The McMillins also alleged that the City Council didn’t correctly follow its rezoning procedures.

Some residents in the area had been concerned that Wal-Mart would increase traffic congestion and crime. Wal-Mart agreed to make additional road improvements.

The company proposed a newer model store, with skylights and other advances in lighting and energy efficiency and recycling.

The city has approved agreements for the project that can be executed when purchase of the land is final, said Christine Bushyhead, a lawyer who represented the project for the discount store company. The timing is still uncertain because of the possibility of appeal, she said.

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