Judge says no to referendum against Mo. Wal-Mart

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | 10:45 a.m. CDT; updated 7:22 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A judge has ruled that opponents of a plan to open a Wal-Mart grocery store in downtown Springfield cannot use the referendum process to overturn the city's zoning decision allowing the market.

The City Council earlier approved a zoning plan that allows a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on the property owned by the Life360 church. But a citizens group opposed to the idea submitted a referendum petition seeking to have the decision put to a vote.

Life360 church then filed a lawsuit seeking to block the election.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that visiting Vernon County Judge Gerald McBeth ruled Tuesday in favor of the plaintiffs, saying the referendum power is in "direct conflict" with procedures in state statutes on zoning and planning.

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