Plans for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Springfield Township are on hold again after a citizen’s group filed a zoning appeal accusing the township of spot zoning.

Township supervisors tabled approval of the store’s development plans on Monday, pending results of the appeal to the township’s zoning hearing board.

Wal-Mart wants to build along state Route 208, off of Interstate 79 and near Prime Outlets at Grove City.

Mercer County Citizens for Responsible Development, a group of citizens and business owners who have opposed the Wal-Mart development since it was originally floated in early 2005, along with township residents Robert W. and Marian Moors and township property owners John and Geri Woods, are challenging the 2007 rezoning of the property from C-2 commercial to C-1.

The appeal alleges that the township enacted an ordinance which “illegally focuses on a single property for the economic benefit of the landowner,” calling it “illegal spot zoning” and “an arbitrary exercise of police power.”

The bulk of the citizens’ appeal expresses concern that the Wal-Mart development has been approved for the benefit of the developer, without regard for the neighboring residents, and displays a lack of comprehensive planning on the township’s part.

“Re-zoning the property approximately six years after the first zoning ordinance was adopted and implemented by the township without reviewing the comprehensive plan is arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion,” the appeal alleges.

The citizens successfully reversed the first zoning change – which occurred in 2005 – of the property in county court, with President Judge Francis Fornelli ruling in their favor early last year.

Andy Szefi of Goehring, Rutter & Boehm, Pittsburgh, the group’s attorney, requested Monday that the township refrain from official action until a decision is made on the appeal.

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