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Judge tosses lawsuit against Bass Pro developer.

A federal judge last week threw out a lawsuit against a Jonesboro developer planning a new shopping center in North Little Rock to be anchored by a Bass Pro Shop.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. said plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit, the Arkansas Nature Alliance and the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas, did not have standing to sue.

The move clears the way for the Belz-Burrow Development Group, now doing business as MBC Holdings, to finally begin work on its proposed $130 million Shoppes at North Hills project. The 850,000-SF shopping center would sit in the Dark Hollow area of North Little Rock on the southwest corner of North Hills Boulevard and Highway 67/167.

Environmental groups had sued to stop the development, saying the Army Corp. of Engineers, which granted a permit for construction, hadn't conducted an adequate survey of the land.

The project, originally announced in 2003, has been controversial and an appeal of Howard's ruling is likely. Environmentalists have raised concerns that building on the 71-acre wetland site would disturb the local ecology. Local business owners have raised concerns that using tax increment financing for the project gives an unfair to the Bass Pro Shops, which will compete with local hunting supply retailers.
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Title Annotation:LEGAL
Comment:Judge tosses lawsuit against Bass Pro developer.(LEGAL)
Author:Turner, Lance
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:May 15, 2006
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