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Lower Allen delays Wal-Mart vote, waiting on FEMA

By - Last modified: April 25, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Lower Allen Township commissioners again delayed a vote for another month on preliminary plans from Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the board waits to hear from federal authorities on flood plain mapping that could change the company's plan.

The commissioners on Monday night accepted an agreement from Wal-Mart for a time extension until May 31, township Manager Thomas Vernau said. The vote was also pushed back in March.

Wal-Mart is proposing an 88,000-square-foot store on a former car dealership lot near the Capital City Mall on Hartzdale Drive, but before it can proceed it needs the township to sign off on preliminary plans. It also needs the Federal Emergency Management Agency to review the company's proposed changes to Cedar Run flood plain maps.

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"The commissioners do not feel they can properly review building plans until they know where the official flood plain is," Vernau said.

Without the changes, some of Wal-Mart's construction for a road around the store would be within the flood plain, according to the plans.

Wal-Mart also is embroiled in an international scandal stemming from allegations in a New York Times article that the retailer's aggressive expansion plans in Mexico led to bribery there. The company has said it's cooperating with government investigators and rigorously investigates such allegations internally, according to its website.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how those investigations might affect new U.S.stores.

The Lower Allen store is considered tentative and the township is unsure how the controversy would affect the project in Cumberland County, Vernau said.

Wal-Mart, which trades its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WMT, saw a 7.5 percent drop in its stock price from its closing of $62.45 on Friday to its closing of $57.77 on Tuesday, according to Google Finance.

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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