The Wal-Mart Doomsday Device
Well, it's not a done deal. A wave of community anger has forced the developer to put the plan on hold and start making backup contingencies. Tonight, the Austin City Council held a public hearing on the matter.
That is where the doomsday device was unveiled.
Councilmember Brewster McCracken asked if they couldn't stop the construction, could the city use its police power to pass a law to protect the neighborhood from all the after-hours noise and disturbance that a 24-hour super-store in a residential neighborhood would bring?
City legal staff indicated that, properly crafted, the city could place limits on a store, even one already built.
Then Councilmember Jennifer Kim asked if it would be possible for the city to enact such restrictions citywide—not just in this one neighborhood but anywhere there was a 24-hour super-store near a residential neighborhood.
Again, city staff indicated affirmitive.
Tonight, the Austin City Council informed Wal-Mart that it has perfected the doomsday device.
If Wal-Mart insists on building this massive 24-hour super-store, the city could implement a statutory change that not only would protect this neighborhood from all-night disturbance, but neighborhoods across the city. They could, effectively, cripple the Wal-Mart 24-hour business practice throughout the city.
Would the City actually do this? Maybe, maybe not. That's the thing about a doomsday device, you just never know.