Orange Wal-Mart Public Hearing Canceled

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Dozens of people showed up for a final public hearing on the controversial Wal-Mart proposed for Orange County that never happened. The hearing was postponed due to an advertising issue and the word of cancellation came so late that some people still showed up.

This all comes down to a technicality in the way a previous public hearing, the one held on May 21, was advertised. Orange County leaders say the Orange County Review, a weekly newspaper, failed to publish the necessary advertisement required by the state code. In Virginia, the law says that a public hearing must be advertised at least seven days prior to the date set for that hearing.

In Orange, the planning commission makes a recommendation, in this case "approve the Wal-Mart", to the board of supervisors. Then, by law, supervisors can hold a hearing and then take a final vote.

Supervisors say they don't want to take a chance and have any decision made by the board challenged in court. If the first hearing was illegal, the recommendation doesn't count and Monday night supervisors can't have a hearing.

The board will have a meeting Tuesday night to talk about when the hearing will be rescheduled.

Reported by Henry Graff
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Email from Orange County Review:

From: <@orangenews.com>
Date: July 27, 2009 4:44:15 PM EDT
To: <hgraff@nbc29.com>

The Orange County Review apologizes for this oversight. It is embarrassing that a mistake like this occurred on such a high-profile hearing as the Walmart special use permit request.

"We've been in business 78 years, publishing dozens of legal notices weekly with few missteps and mistakes. "Again, it is unfortunate we should make one on such an important and critical issue as the proposed Walmart. We apologize to the county administration, Walmart and the community.

Nancy Embree
Advertising Manager
Central VA Weekly Group