County Judge Greenlights Sandfly Wal-Mart - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/23/03

County Judge Greenlights Sandfly Wal-Mart

After years of controversy, a judge has finally ruled on the Sandfly Wal-Mart controversy. The disagreement stems from a proposed Wal-Mart off Montgomery Cross Road. The judge made her ruling yesterday, and to sum up a 14-page document, she says Wal-Mart has the green light and two churches do not have a case against the retail giant.

Going against some members of his community, Sandfly resident Earl Jones was overjoyed when a Chatham County judge gave Wal-Mart the go-ahead, saying a lawsuit filed by two Sandfly churches did not prove Wal-Mart was in the wrong. The churches, along with residents, have been trying to stop this construction for more than a year, saying it would ruin their neighborhood. Jones a 66-year resident of Sandfly disagrees, and he lives directly across the street.

"The building I saw that is supposed to be put there is a beautiful building," he said.

We obtained a copy of the judge's ruling, in which states she is sympathetic and understands the residents are unhappy about the commercial development, but says they don't have enough evidence to make their case. She states, "The courts are bound by law and evidence. Based upon the law and evidence presented in this case, plaintiffs do not have the requisite standing to maintain this action." Jones says he knows people are angry now, but it will pass.

"It will bring some energy and jobs to our area," he said.

The lawyer representing Sandfly could not be reached for a comment. They do have the option to appeal, but there is no word on their next move. Wal-Mart can start construction immediately if they are ready, and of course we'll keep you posted.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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