On August 15, 2006, Sprawl-Busters reported that Wal-Mart was back for a second attempt to build a superstore in Sarasota, Florida. This time the company was asking city officials to give the company a Special Exception in a bid to circumvent the current Comprehensive Plan. Wal-Mart wanted to change the current building code from single businesses having 60,000 square feet limit. If passed, they would attempt to pass building/site plan to construct a 219,400 square foot store. Residents in Sarasota report this week that Wal-Mart has done an about face, and now is withdrawing its request for a special deal. A letter submitted to the city by Wal-Mart’s lawyer this week says, ” As agent for Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, I hereby withdraw the pending application which I submitted for Special Exception No. 1621 for a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter
on Fruitville Road. I sincerely appreciate all your work, analyses and professional courties (sic) on this application.” John Krotec, a local businessman in Sarasota, who has been an outspoken critic of Wal-Mart, told Sprawl-Busters, “I just got confirmation that the lead counsel representing the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Fruitville (Sarasota, Florida) has withdrawn its bid for a special exception with the Sarasota County Planning Commission. It seems that there was growing opposition in the community and in the business ranks. A great victory for now…we will re-group and get ready for Wal-Marts next salvo of nonsense.”
Two years ago, the Sarasota County Commission rejected, in a 3-2 vote, Wal-Mart’s bid to build a 215,000 s.f. store near the corner of Cattlemen Road on the north side of Fruitville Road. It’s new application was supposed to come up before the Sarasota County Planning Commission on Sept. 7. As Krotec wrote, “The issues of traffic safety, intent of the original comprehensive development plan and community image should be enough to stop Wal-Mart in its latest bid to build. Over the years, city and county planners have painstakingly developed Sarasota into an outstanding community. The Fruitville Road corridor is one of Sarasota’s nicest gateways into its newly refurbished downtown and is a main passage to our world-renowned beaches. The negative impact a Wal-Mart at the Fruitville Road site would have on Sarasota’s domestic and international reputation is incalculable. The very heart and soul of Sarasota is at stake.” It appears that Wal-Mart’s application in Fruitville will bear no fruit. Just one more poorly thought out project from Wal-Mart Realty.