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PHOENIX-A day after a Valley city passed anti-big box retailer legislation, Wal-Mart is fighting back by hiring Arizona’s big gun, former attorney general Grant Woods. Woods began the counter attack against the new ordinance enacted by Glendale by questioning the emergency clause attached to it. “The bottom line is the council created an emergency,” Woods says. “They made it up out of thin air.”

An ordinance that is passed with an emergency clause is put into effect immediately, foregoing the normal waiting period for most ordinances. That abbreviated enactment took away the citizens’ rights to seek a citywide vote on the issue, Woods says.

On Tuesday night, the Glendale City Council approved three changes in ordinances that will impact big box retailers. At least two of them are expected to be challenged in court.

The city imposed time limits on when any retailer at the proposed site at 51st and Olive avenues can be open, prohibiting open times between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The city also limited the size of any single retailer on the site to 92,000-sf.

The owner of the 39-acre parcel, Hayscale LLC, plans to mount a referendum drive to overturn that decision.

If Wal-Mart successfully challenges the emergency clause, then in all likelihood the firm will seek a referendum vote on the ordinance itself, says Jordan Rich Rose, a Wal-Mart attorney. It would require 734 signatures to get a referendum on the ballot, say Glendale city officials.

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