UPDATE: The City of Edmond has been advised by counsel for Walmart that their request for a specific use permit and site plan approval for a Neighborhood Market has been postponed indefinitely, said Steve Murdock, city attorney.
Walmart ran into tough neighborhood opposition earlier this week at the Planning Commission in its plans to construct a store at the northwest corner of Coffee Creek and Kelly Avenue. The agenda item for a hearing has been stricken from Monday’s City Council agenda, Murdock said.
Earlier this week, the Edmond Planning Commission voted 4-1 to reject and deny the site plan and specific use permit for a Walmart Neighborhood Market.
The Edmond Planning Commission voted 4-1 to reject and deny the site plan and specific use permit for a Walmart Neighborhood Market, proposed on the northwest corner of Coffee Creek Road and Kelly Avenue. Commissioner Mark Hoose cast the no vote.
“You don’t have to hit me with a board to see the writing on the wall,” said Oklahoma City attorney Blaine Nice, representing Sam’s Club.
A restricted commercial zoning parcel, the placement of a Walmart Neighborhood Market would be a “rifle shot, narrowing, limited tailored use for the D1 restricted parceling,” said attorney Matthew Winton, representing Oak Tree Park.
“The applicant has to demonstrate a harmony for the area,” Winton said.
An over-flow capacity of residents extending into the Downtown Community Center were unanimous in their disfavor of a grocery store proposed in close proximity of their property.
Area resident Mark Ferguson said to grant the specific use permit is outside the city’s site design standards. Sensitive border standards require no loading or unloading between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. But Walmart specified the hours to be within that time frame at a recent community meeting, Ferguson said.
“I would also like to comment that the site is simply too small and too close to the neighborhoods for this specific use permit,” Ferguson said.
Homeowner Judy Tyree said she chose her neighborhood because of the quiet location although she knew it was zoned for office space.
“I do have a problem with a big box building that comes in and is really not in harmony with the residents,” she said.
The two lane road of Coffee Creek would be burdened by additional traffic demand in the area if Walmart Neighborhood Market is built there, said Tony Maranto, area resident.
Homeowner Gary Jackson said the easement required by the plan would come into his property. Neither does he want to see 4,000 cars a day in his backyard as well as congesting the roads, he said.
“What we’re talking about here is an impact on the quality of life, and others have spoken to that,” Jackson said. “I’m asking just to turn this thing down. When I moved there four years ago, I went and looked and saw what the City Council had done in the past. I knew I would be protected with trees. But I was not going to have a grocery store and it was not going to be open 24-7.”
David Folks, an area resident, said the 41,000-square-foot store would not qualify as a shop as defined in the current zoning. Commission Chairman Barry Moore said he has driven by the proposed location several times.
“I have yet to see how this is an appropriate spot for a Walmart Neighborhood Market or any grocery store,” Moore said.
Consideration of the item will be discussed by the City Council next Monday at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
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