SPRING HILL – Gregg Laskoski now knows it pays to fight Wal-Mart.

“It makes sense for residents to aggressively protect their own interests,” said Laskoski, a Pristine Place resident and a leader of the opposition to the retailer’s plan to build a Supercenter on Barclay Avenue.

Wal-Mart announced Dec. 28 that it will drop a lawsuit claiming it has the right to build the store on a 22-acre parcel east of Barclay and north of Spring Hill Drive. The County Commission voted the plan down in May, and Wal-Mart had filed the suit contesting the decision two months later.

The company does not want to encourage community opposition, said spokeswoman Quenta Vettel, but the decision to drop the suit shows Wal-Mart has changed in two ways.

Last year, it scaled back its aggressive expansion plans, saying it would build about 170 stores in the next three years compared to about 270 annually for most of the past decade.

Also, Vettel said, the company is trying to live down its reputation for forcing stores in communities that do not want them. Though Wal-Mart officials still think the store has the right to build the Supercenter on Barclay, they did not want to have to prove it in court.

Full Story: http://www.sptimes.com/2008/01/07/Hernando/Residents_claim_giant.shtml