Duluth landowner files suit over Wal-Mart

LAWRENCEVILLE - A man has reportedly filed a $25 million lawsuit against Duluth in response to the city's big-box moratorium.

Jack Bandy, who plans to sell his land at the corner of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Chattahoochee Drive for a Wal-Mart Supercenter to be built, filed the suit last week, Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter said. The city received a letter requesting more information about the moratorium Friday.

"He feels as though he's been put out in some way," Lasseter said of Bandy.

Lasseter said the lawsuit is in response to the fact that the retail giant was unable to get building permits after withdrawing two requests that would have let the company alter required landscaping and the roof pitch of the store.

Withdrawing those requests would ordinarily have let construction go forward on land that was already zoned for commercial use, but a six-month moratorium on big-box stores that the city enacted in July has kept Wal-Mart from going forward with plans to build a 176,000-square-foot store.

The moratorium affects all buildings larger than 75,000 square feet.

Lasseter said Bandy is being represented by former Gov. Roy Barnes. Messages left at both Barnes' and Bandy's offices after business hours were not returned by press time Tuesday. A Wal-Mart spokesman also could not be reached for comment.

Residents have banded together to oppose the Wal-Mart, which they said does not fit the residential character of their neighborhood. More than 2,300 people have signed an online petition opposing the store.

The moratorium is due to be lifted Jan. 31, after the City Council has a chance to study large retailers, but it may be lifted sooner after a study of big-boxes is finished.