Wal-Mart couldn’t muster a single vote early this morning when it came before the Town Council in Davie, Florida. Sprawl-Busters reported on May 22nd that Wal-Mart had hit a snag in Davie. The retailer’s plans for a 202,853 s.f. superstore on 36 acres of commercial land, relied on a legal settlement from 17 years ago that allows larger stores than the town now allows. According to a report submitted to Sprawl-Busters by a local resident, “At 2 AM on July 20th the Davie Town Council denied Wal-Mart’s application to build a 24 hour Super Wal-Mart on a parcel that bordered 2 residential neighborhoods. For the past year Davie residents have organized and worked to stop Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart will probably sue the Town of Davie, and we will see where that leads. But for now it is a clear victory for the residents and the Town of Davie.” Sprawl-Busters noted last May that “the town has the right to rule that the intensity of this land use is incompatible with the surrounding properties, and would cause the residential properties to lose value.” Basically that’s what happened. With six hours of testimony under its belt, the Town Council voted 4-0 to reject the 24 hour Wal-Mart proposal, saying that the plan did not fit in with the neighborhood. According to a traffic study, the Wal-Mart, which would have a parking lot for 855 cars, would increase traffic on Orange Drive and add to existing traffic woes on Griffin Road and University Drive. Wal-Mart’s lawyer made the usual statement in response to the vote that Wal-Mart was likely to sue the town. As we noted last May, the land Wal-Mart wants to build on was part of a settlemet in 1999 that allowed builders to construct larger stores than currently allowed in Davie. Because of that 1989 settlement, Wal-Mart did not have to apply for a zoning change. But Attorney Tucker Gibbs, representing the citizen’s group, argued that the settlement was no longer valid, and that Wal-Mart’s huge store was incompatible with Davie’s plans for small-business redevelopment along Davie Road. Councilwoman Susan Starkey also challenged the validity of the 1989 agreement and said it was outdated. The massive retail project, with a building the size of four football fields, is located between the Rolling Hills Lake Estates to the north and the Alpine Woods neighborhood to the west. Wal-Mart attempted to placate neighbors by promising to lower lighting fixtures by 17 feet and building an 8-foot wall on the store’s west side, plus a 6-foot “decorative fence” along the north side to cut down on noise. Wal-Mart’s lawyer told one newspaper, “many of them just don’t want a Wal-Mart there.”
For more background on the Davie victory, go to www.savedaviestopwalmart.com. Opponents say they are gearing up for a legal battle, and will not let Wal-Mart get by litigation what it could not get by regulation. For now, another one bites the dust. The ball is now in Wal-Mart’s legal court. For earlier stories, search Newsflash by “Davie”.