If Wal-Mart wants to build a store in Clermont, FL, it’s going to have to think smaller. On April 13th, the City Council in Clermont voted to approve a new city ordinance that would restrict the size of commercial buildings to 100,000 s.f. Although Wal-Mart is building much smaller “Neighborhood Mart” stores at 40,000 s.f., they have indicated they wanted to build a 183,000 s.f. supercenter — greater than the new Clermont cap. In December, Wal-Mart’s attorney “stormed out of the City Council meeting, saying the company may take Clermont to court”, according to The Lake Sentinel newspaper. Wal-Mart had been seeking variances to build a superstore on land they have reportedly already purchased for $2.3 million, assuming the city would approve their project. Attorney Richard Langley told city officials in December that he would either return with another application for a superstore, or take the city to court. “I don’t think they gave us a fair deal,” Langley said. Wal-Mart had offered to make $2 million worth of road improvements, or twice what they had previously offered the city. Residents opposed to the Wal-Mart supercenter lauded the new city ordinance as an important step towards controlling the future of their city. Council members said the ordinance was not about stopping one store, but taking control of how Clermont looks.
For further information about the Clermont cap on building size, contact Susy Gibson, 12310 Sunshine Drive, Clermont, FL 34711. For more info on other towns that have enacted caps, contact sprawl-busters.