Where were you on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 10AM?

If you were lucky, you were out in the 40 degree weather and standing arm in arm with your friends, family and neighbors at Arms Around Northcross.

If you weren't there, well…

That morning, for at least one glorious hour as many as 3,000 people stretched around the Northcross Mall property. We linked together in an unbreakable chain to stop the plan to build a two-story 225,085 sq. ft. 24-hour WalMart Supercenter with a three-story parking garage.

And the rest you know.

RG4N IS CLOSED

RG4N was formed in November 2006. It ended on December 31, 2010.

As hard as it is to say, we must tell you that Responsible Growth for Northcross has ceased to operate as a legal corporation.

We filed the necessary papers with the Texas Secretary of State, fulfilled our financial obligations, and sent the remaining funds to our amazing legal team led by Doug Young at Scanlon, Buckle and Young.

Going forward, it is up to all of us as citizens and to the individual neighborhood associations to pay close attention to all development issues in and around our neighborhood.

And then it opened

Posted Mon, 11/08/2010 - 1:35am

At the end of October, the “smaller” Walmart opened at Northcross.

We know there are still issues concerning crime, traffic, truck routes and others. Please let us know when you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

You are also free to contact the new store manager with issues: Scott Gray at 420-9669. We met him. He indicated a willingness to listen and to address public concerns.

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We know some are still not pleased that there is a Walmart there of any kind. But we hope everyone who supported RG4N understands how amazing and rare our win is.

Remember, when this all started in November 2006, the original plan called for a store that would have been one of the largest Walmarts in the United States at 225,000 sq. ft.

We hit roadblock after roadblock in our opposition but never gave up. We made thousands of yard signs, and stood together at Arms Around Northcross, yet we had no political support. Our city put up $784,000 to fight us in court, and we lost. We fought for years! Then against all odds, we ended up winning. The store was reduced to 99,000 sq. ft. That is 56% smaller. And it’s called Neighborhood Market by Walmart. Definitely not a Supercenter. That result was due to economic factors, as well as your tenacious and steadfast demand for a more responsible plan.

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We must recognize and thank all the volunteers, committee members, business
supporters, and all who donated their precious time and dollars.

To all who put out yard signs and kept them there through every setback. In many cases, you had several generations of signs...

To our amazing attorneys, Doug Young and Brad Rockwell...

To everyone who put a bumper sticker on their car or tied red ribbons on their trees…

If you came to any of our Town Hall meetings…

If you participated in the creation of our alternate plan…

RG4N On NPR

Posted Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:43am

As the opening day for the Walmart at Northcross draws near, we have something special to share with you.

RG4N leaders were recently interviewed by reporters for the NPR program "State of the Re:Union." Nope, that's not a typo.

State of the Re:Union explores how American cities and communities face challenging circumstances, and highlights what gives an area its uniqueness.

In July, they came to Austin. They wanted to report on how Austin is managing to keep things weird in the face of major population growth and change. And since we pointed out how "Walmart Isn't Weird" during our battle, they called RG4N to learn more about our long struggle against Walmart, the City of Austin and Lincoln Properties. We were interviewed for an hour and a half, and we told them everything.

Much of what we said was edited away, but it was clear that they were very impressed with our tenacious fight, and especially with the uncommon result.

To listen, click here then play Segment B:
http://stateofthereunion.com/home/season-2/austin-tx

Here is the full MP3. Our part of the story is at 13:10 until 21:01.
http://sotrupodcasts.creativeempirell.netdna-cdn.com/Austin_FullEpisode....

We'll let you know when KUT plans to air it locally. In another way, the timing of this is also great since the national spotlight will soon be on Austin for the upcoming ACL Festival.

If you live in a great town, everyone has to work to keep it that way. We do, and we must. And we hope our story inspires people everywhere who are facing an uphill battle against seemingly unmovable forces and indifferent political leadership.

What Happened At The Meeting

Posted Mon, 04/12/2010 - 12:01am

From the Austin Chronicle of March 26, 2010

Wal-Mart, RG4N
From enemies to frenemies
BY LEE NICHOLS

Yes, there's still going to be a Wal-Mart on the site of the former Northcross Mall. In fact, it's under construction right now. And no, resentment from the surrounding neighborhoods hasn't gone away. Wal-Mart representatives met with about 40 members of Responsible Growth for Northcross (RG4N) earlier this month to update them on the status of the project. Among the major messages delivered:

• The store will be closed to customers 1-5am, though employees will be working inside 24 hours a day. However, the store might stay open all night on holidays, and "if a competitor within a 2-mile radius goes 24 hours, we reserve the right to go to 24 hours," said Joe Grasso of the Doucet & Associates engineering firm, speaking for Wal-Mart.

• Wal-Mart will transplant 16 trees of 11-15 inches in diameter onto the
property, along with about 100 smaller ones.

• Wal-Mart's delivery trucks will approach the store from I-35, up Highway 183, and then onto Burnet – not from noncommercial streets. However, no guarantees could be made that non-Wal-Mart trucks making deliveries would
follow the same policy.

On that latter point, one person in the audience said, "[That] is why we didn't want you in the neighborhood." Complaints could be taken up with the store manager, the reps said, as well as any concerns about crime associated with the site. "The store manager will answer the phone," assured the representatives. Neighbors weren't completely convinced, but they seemed at least to appreciate answers.

Meeting with Walmart - March 10, 2010

Posted Mon, 03/08/2010 - 2:18am

Friends & Supporters:

The meeting with Walmart to see their plans for the Northcross site is set.

The meeting will be next week on Wednesday, March 10th at 6pm.

It will be held at Ben Hur Shrine Temple at 7811 Rockwood Lane, (which is across from Sun Harvest).

Please RSVP at press [at] rg4n [dot] org if you plan to attend -- even if you previously indicated your interest in attending the meeting we postponed.

We sincerely appreciate your years of support. We also look forward to seeing you once more, as we get to see the plans for the reduced-size store, which we all hope will be a better fit than what had been originally planned way back in 2006.

Yep, it's been that long.

Thank you.

WHAT'S GOING ON AT NORTHCROSS? + LAWSUIT SETTLED

Posted Fri, 09/25/2009 - 1:09am

If it looks like nothing is happening at Northcross, it's because nothing much is happening. But we'd still like to clarify what we know and what we are monitoring.

Here's what we know. RG4N had a meeting with representatives from Walmart to get details about the development months ago. Since then, we have been waiting to get firm details about the downsized store and new artistic renderings of the store.

We're still waiting for those details.

Here's what was discussed at that meeting:
The store is planned to be 97,915 sq. ft. (Much smaller than 225,000 sq. ft.)

It won't be 24 hours, except during special seasons, like before. So it's not a Supercenter, as was erroneously reported by News 8 Austin.

The designs we saw were different than before and reflected the smaller size, but we don't have anything to show you.

The truck routes have been changed too. Truck routes are re-routed to the portion of Anderson Lane from Northcross over to Mopac. Instead of going back up Burnet to 183 (which is the way they come down to Northcross), trucks will now come out of Northcross Drive, turn west on Anderson, go to the Mopac frontage and go north up to 183.

We apologize for the lack of more specifics, but that leads us to the final point of this Update.

The date set for construction or opening is unclear.

We'll let you know if anything develops. (But please also let us know if you see anything that merits a closer look.)

LAWSUIT SETTLED

RG4N has signed a settlement agreement with the City of Austin and Lincoln Property Company.

The developer will not seek repayment of legal fees from RG4N.

And we will not contest the new, currently approved site plan, since the new plan addresses most of the objections of our lawsuit.

Hey Neighbors! On Feb. 8, Let's Get Together & Have A Party!

Posted Wed, 01/28/2009 - 11:06pm

We got some good news that calls for a celebration. So mark your calendar to come to the:

RG4N Good Neighbor Get Together
Sunday, Feb. 8th
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
at HANGTOWN GRILL
at Burnet Rd & 2222/Koenig Ln in the HEB shopping center

• Great Food & Fun!
• Live Music from Wendy Colonna and Cooper Henson & Nikolas Henson
• Raffle Prizes including a Dell Laptop Computer from Discount Electronics & a Brother Sewing Machine

15% of food purchases benefits the RG4N legal fund.

Click the attachment (at the bottom of this story) for all the details. See you there.

As you may recall, way back in November 2006, we started our quest to stop the two-story, 200,000+ sq. ft. Wal-Mart Supercenter at Northcross Mall.

That monstrous site plan is no longer in play. In December 2008, the city officially approved a new plan for a much, much smaller store that saves the old trees and calls for more green space too.

Friends and neighbors, we said from Day One that it was NOT a done deal and we stood our ground, and that is worth celebrating!

Were it not for neighbors coming together for more than TWO YEARS to demand to be heard at City Hall, to link arm-in-arm at around Northcross, to rally at Town Halls, to protest on Saturday mornings, to distribute 10,000 newsletters, to place thousands of yard signs and tie yards of red ribbon, to hold a bazaar & thrift sale, to get feisty at Feisty Fest, to alert the media, to sue, and to never stop fighting, we would have not seen a day that the developer & Wal-Mart decided to do it neighborly and do it right.

Update - 8/19/08

Posted Wed, 08/20/2008 - 2:31pm

In this Update:
1. No Meeting on August 21.
2. We met with Lincoln.

In our last Update, we announced that we would convene for an RG4N Town Hall on August 21. Let¹s hold off on that for now. This note explains why. Also please note that your feedback and questions are welcomed and encouraged at: press [at] rg4n [dot] org

Representatives from Responsible Growth for Northcross and the Allandale Neighborhood Association met recently with Bruce Scrafford, an attorney for Lincoln Property Company. The purpose of the meeting was to disclose more information about the revised plan to build a smaller Wal-Mart store at Northcross Mall. No one from Wal-Mart or the City of Austin attended.

In fact, Wal-Mart is putting together a "Fact Sheet" on the new plans and wasn't ready with the details for the meeting. When we receive that information, we will schedule a Town Hall meeting. (It should also be noted that the online information about the prior plan for the two-story Wal-Mart is gone: http://www.walmart-northcross.com )

However, it was still a productive meeting. We learned some things we didn't already know. But we still have questions.

Here's what we know now:
1. The Wal-Mart at Northcross will be 99,600 square feet
2. It will be one-story
3. No parking garage
4. No garden center
5. No gas station
6. The revised plan is expected to retain the design and materials in the earlier design, so it's not expected to be a blue and grey box
7. A new site plan has not been submitted to the City of Austin.
8. More trees and landscaping will be planted in the new plan
9. More sidewalks will be in the new plan
10. Less impervious cover will be in the new plan
11. Water control and drainage will be improved in the new plan

Here's what we don't know specifics about yet:
1. Hours of operation
2. Traffic impact and mitigation
3. Truck delivery routes
4. Access from the Northcross bus stop, particularly for people with
disabilities
5. Security operations

The True Center of Austin

Posted Tue, 07/01/2008 - 8:56pm

The RG4N Business Liaison Committee has partnered with the Austin Independent Business Alliance to create the new Northcross Independent Business Investment Zone, or IBIZ! You can read more about ABIA and IBIZ here.

Now we need YOU to shop locally and patronize the businesses in the new Northcross IBIZ. You can also use this map of the Northcross IBIZ stores.

In addition to the IBIZ stores, please continue to shop and support the many businesses who have financially supported RG4N's efforts from the beginning.

Letter from RG4N President Hope Morrison

Posted Wed, 06/25/2008 - 7:26pm

Dear RG4N Supporters,

The reduced size of the planned Northcross Wal-Mart is welcome news for us all. The RG4N Steering Committee thanks everyone for the kind words and expressions of appreciation we are hearing today from neighbors throughout the area and across the city.

We aren't the only or even the biggest factor in Wal-Mart's decision to scale back the planned store. But I know we were one important factor. Neighborhood resistance to the Northcross project and the potential for ongoing litigation created a shadow of uncertainty over the project that we believe bought us time -- time for the economy and other factors that drove the decision to come fully into play.

So many people throughout and outside the Northcross area contributed to this effort. Neighbors who put signs in their yards, everyone who showed up for Arms Around Northcross and other events, Allandale and other area neighborhood associations, all the people who donated money and time and wrote letters, the businesses that supported our efforts. All of you played vital roles.

BIG NEWS! Wal-Mart reducing store size

Posted Tue, 06/24/2008 - 9:53am

"Wal-Mart is dramatically scaling back plans for its Supercenter at Northcross Mall after a two-year controversy and a court fight with neighbors opposed to the store."

Read the entire Statesman article about Wal-Mart's plans to reduce the size of the store planned at Northcross Mall!

YES WE CAN!

Posted Wed, 01/23/2008 - 8:51am
Yes We Can

RG4N "YES WE CAN" RECYCLE

It’s simple. It’s sustainable. It's fun. Start saving and collecting your cans today! This is an easy way to raise necessary funds and help us continue our fight.

Thank You For A Great Meeting!

Posted Sun, 01/13/2008 - 12:16am

We had a great turnout Friday night.

We'll be putting together more details ASAP about the ideas we announced and discussed--especially your ideas. In the meantime, click on "3 attachments" below. You'll find the letter templates we passed out and our petition.

Download these letters and use them to write to Lincoln and to Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart. Please send a letter each week.

Download the petition. It is our effort to call for the Austin City Council to immediately pass an ordinance which would limit 24-hour operations for Big Box retail stores in close proximity to residences, including the Wal-Mart Superstore at Northcross, and would include a provision that limits public shopping hours as well as overnight operations, including delivery truck arrivals and engine idling.

There's an election coming up. Let's see who supports our neighborhoods who doesn't.

More to come...

Statement on Court Ruling

Posted Fri, 12/21/2007 - 7:54pm

Today, the 200th Judicial District Court of Travis County issued its ruling on our lawsuit. The court ruled that the site plan approval was consistent with city ordinances.

RG4N is disappointed with this verdict. But we are not done fighting.

We are merely back where we were one year ago, when neighbors resoundingly said, "No!" to this irresponsible development. And in the court of public opinion, Wal-Mart, Lincoln and the City of Austin have been losing since Day One.

Unless we continue to act, we believe the City and developers will take this ruling as a green light to continue business as usual, pursuing any and all development without regard to the wishes of or effect on neighborhoods.

We invite citizens from all over Austin who will stand up and keep fighting to come meet with us on Friday, January 11, 2008 at St. Louis Catholic Church.

Moreover, while Judge Naranjo outlined her reasoning for her ruling on the garden center issue, she gave no explanation for her ruling on most of our claims. Without such an explanation, we continue to believe that we conclusively established noncompliance with the law on our other claims.

We will further discuss the ruling and our options with our attorneys, and will have more to say on January 11th about how we plan to proceed.

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