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Fairview Wal-Mart not dead?

From staff reports

Despite a public announcement that Wal-Mart was scrapping plans for a 24-hour Supercenter on a site in the Fairview community, the owners of the 30 acres still wish to go forward with their rezoning request, county officials said Monday.

At a packed town hall meeting Aug. 4, representatives of the retail giant told residents they would withdraw from the project and look for another site for the 203,000-square-foot store. About half the room cheered with approval, the other half groaned in disappointment.

On Monday, county officials announced to a small crowd of Wal-Mart supporters who had come to plead for leaders to woo Wal-Mart back, that the rezoning application of property owners Robert Harber, Harold Johnson Sr., Larry and Sharon Tatum and Fred and Ellen Howard would still be heard tonight during the 6:30 p.m. meeting unless it was withdrawn before hand.

"This morning I spoke with the applicant and as of this moment, their intention is to be heard (tonight)," said Henry Chairman Jason Harper.

The proposal has divided the Fairview and Ellenwood communities in northern Henry County. Supporters say the county would be throwing away tax revenue by turning its back on Wal-Mart, and would still suffer the consequence of its traffic wherever it's built. Opponents say the store will increase traffic and decrease property values in the area.

"We were under the impression the applicant was Wal-Mart. We were not told the applicant was the property owners," said Lakeside Drive resident Rita Hutson, who opposes the store. "Those of us who are opposed to this were not diligent in making sure it was a dead issue."

On Monday, a group of Wal-Mart supporters gathered to address the Board of Commissioners during an open comment period and pushed for them to try and get Wal-Mart back.

"Wal-Mart has most graciously bent over backwards to comply with our board and we have not worked with them," said Cathy White, a resident of Cook Drive near the property up for rezoning tonight.

The property owners' application asks that the board rezone roughly 30 acres on Fairview Road near the intersection of Anvil Block Road from a residential and agricultural use to general commercial.

The Board of Commissioners will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough.