Local residents of Holiday, Florida were more than pleasantly suprised on June 11th. when they learned that the 207,500 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter planned for 31 acres in their small community was being withdrawn. The proposed store on crowded Route 19 had been facing opposition for months, but it was still unexpected when the Pasco County Commissioners announced the pullback at a county hearing last week. Instead of proceeding with a rezoning hearing, the Commissioners turned the event into a party atmosphere. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the room burst into applause at the announcement. The decision to take a holiday from Holiday, was apparently a mutual one made by the landowner, Dimmit Car Leasing, and Wal-Mart officials. “I think the opposition was vocal enough that it made an impact,” the Times quoted Corrine Patera, a resident who battled the supercenter, as saying. “It was too much, too big, too close. It just wasn’t appropriate.” Before the June 11th. decision, the project was already in trouble. The County Commissioners two months ago announced that they wanted to limit traffic on congested U.S. 19. The Holiday Wal-Mart was slated to add 11,750 car trips a day to the busy highway. “It looked like an uphill battle,” one of the County Commissioners told The Times.
Meanwhile, residents in nearby Bayonet Point now worry that Wal-Mart will try to focus its efforts on pushing an unwanted supercenter in that community. But development limitations planned by Pasco Commissioners could force a permanent holiday on that location also. One Commissioner said he was not against Wal-Mart per se — but “never, ever again on Route 19.” For more information on Holiday or Bayonet Point, or for local contacts there, search this database by the name of the towns.