A judge, not voters, makes decision on future of downtown Walmart
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Walmart now has approval to build a new store near downtown Springfield.
Voters will not have a say about it.  A judge made the ruling on the case Wednesday regarding the re-zoning of property.  The judge agreeing with the city's original Planning and Zoning ruling.
"It's quiet," said Dave Williams.  "It's peaceful."
Dave Williams has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years.  He lives right off Normal Street.  He's worried about the Walmart traffic.
"It will increase tremendously," said Williams.  "Obviously people are going to want to get to the entrance through Normal, so they are going to take the quickest route possible."
The issue was decided by a judge and the case boiled down to how much weight a petition can have over planning and zoning.  "What it did was call our zoning process into question,"said Mayor Bob Stephens
The judge determined the procedure of collecting and counting signatures was valid.
"It's always nice to have validation you are doing your job right," said Stephens. But the judge decided the process was defective and conflicts with state law.  Mayor Bob Stephens is pleased with the ruling.
"It has to be consistent," said Stephens.  "It has to be stable.  So that people have some idea when a piece of property is zoned a certain way, it's going to stay that way if they're looking to bring a business to town."
The mayor says council will likely examine amending the city charter to comply with the state.
The judge was not scheduled to make a decision until August. "We had no more evidence to present," said attorney John Holstein.  "We had no more argument. There was no purpose in delaying it."
Attorneys for the church and landowners still question the petition, but are overall happy with the decision.
"We were pleased with the result, we disagreed in some respects as you might guess for the reasoning," said Holstein.  "We are not in a position to complain about it since the result is favorable to our client."
As for Williams, he's expecting big changes for his quiet neighborhood.
"It's a thing I'm concerned about," said Williams.