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Zoning Board OK's Parking Variance For Walmart At Suburban Plaza

Construction of store, renovation of shopping center can proceed.

By Ralph Ellis

The DeKalb County Board of Zoning Appeals voted Wednesday afternoon to approve a parking variance for Suburban Plaza, removing the final hurdle for construction of a Walmart at the shopping center just outside the Decatur City Limits.

Opposition to the project was strong, and the meeting in the Maloof Building was heated. some people waited in line to speak but didn't get a chance, and a woman said people one the other side of the issue weren't Christian.

If you want a blow-by-blow of what happened at the meeting,

Neighborhood groups had such as delayed response time for emergency vehicles and decreased property values.

Selig Enterprises of Atlanta, the developer and owner of Suburban Plaza, wants to build a Walmart as part of the renovation of the aging shopping center at Scott Boulevard, North Decatur Road and Church Street.

Selig asked for and got a variance

The center would have 1,269 spaces, with 500 underground.

According to a Development of Regional Impact statement filed by DeKalb County, the project calls for the "Demolition of approximately 144,000 sf of existing commercial space and the addition of 149,000 sf for a new total shopping center square footage of 324,614 sf."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said some opponents say they'll appeal the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The newspaper said,

"The mission of  this board is to accomplish the highest quality of life for the citizens of DeKalb by developing neighborhood-driven plans for future development," said Decatur resident Ann Mauney. "Their actions have contradicted that mission statement."

One side effect is that the cohesion of neighborhood groups may have been damaged.

Some neighborhood group leaders engaged in private talks with developers in the days before the meeting, angering the rank and file when they found out.

 

 

 

karen December 20, 2011 at 05:58 PM
I am absolutely appalled the DeKalb Zoning Board has approved yet another Wal-mart when there are alreday TWO within a 10 miles distance. You have just doomed this entire area of come-back neighborhoods to a LOW-RENT perspective. As a Planning & Development person myself, this is just about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. The Traffic, the congestion, the lack of need and necessity for a HUGE BIG BOX development in an area which has courted independent Mom & Pop businesses for years is unblievable. NO ONE wants to live next to a low-rent slum inducing facility and business like a Wal-Mart. While this area has carefully courted high-end, individual businesses for years. This lack of long term prespective on future development options is absolutely beyond anything I can think of. There IS NO local diversity in this specific area which will support yet ANOTHER Wal-mart for the long term. This is an area of Individually OWNED and occupied residences. The Indian Community is already served by recent UPSCALE development for their entire community and YET you feel it is appropriate to allow this development here - when there are alreday vacated large tracts of land, where all of the car dealerships once resided - what were YOU ALL thinking? THe local clientiele are NOT going to support a Wal-Mart. This is the wrong entity for the wrong location. Just WAIT until Walmart abandon's this site and leaves yet another BIG - BOX mess which is their ongoing M.O.
karen December 20, 2011 at 06:59 PM
One other thing. I have worked within communites through-out the state, where Wal-Mart uses LOCAL taxes paid for by the very people who have opposed this, to develop the infrastructure using local monies. Egress and Ingress, water and sewerage facilites, which are aleady high in DeKalb County, traffic measures with street sinage, curb-cuts, etc. When Wal-mart gets tired of one facility, they often abandon this for another larger facitlity down the road. Just look at the mess with the shopping center adjacent to Home Depot, where burned out facilities have been sitting for some several years, further down Lawerenceville Highway. And yet, you have apporved this mess. If one had to, one could walk to the OTHER Wal-mart , already existing or take the bus to the Wal-Mart in Tucker. Did you tell everyone that Wal-mart operates on this level? The ONLY decent Wal-mart I have ever seen, exists as a stand alone in Bozeman Montana, where STRICT building codes were implemented in making this facility BLEND in with the surrounding community. ARE you going to do this here? I just bet not. It will look like every other tacky Wal-mart in the world.
Ms. December 21, 2011 at 02:32 AM
"You have just doomed this entire area of come-back neighborhoods to a LOW-RENT perspective." Yes, I'm sure the half a mil homes on Glendale will start charging $300 a month to rent out their homes. OK For a "Planning & Development person" you seem to have an extremely limited knowledge about the area, and don't even seem understand the elementary issue at hand that was voted on, which was a parking variance, not to "approve" a Walmart.
karen December 21, 2011 at 06:53 AM
"approve a parking variance for Suburban Plaza, removing the final hurdle for construction of a Walmart at the shopping center just outside the Decatur City Limits." I am sorry, what about this did I miss? Seems pretty clear English to me. Do you honestly think they are NOT going to build the Wal-Mart? "Removing FINAL hurdle for CONSTRUCTION of a Wal-mart". Having lived here, in the area for over 30 years, I happen to think I have an extremely CLEAR understanding of the demographics, long term development issues, push/pull economic factors among other things. My comments were certainly NOT based on some abstract fear of a Big-Box Development, just a clear perspective of exactly HOW Wal-Mart operates. I just happen to feel strongly the Commission made an error in judgment considering ALL the factors which go along with Big Box! Go look at the abandonded Cub Foods Plaza next to the Home Depot - you like that? Someone has to police such spaces. Why not encourage this type development for the abandonded Car Lots along the highway? Plenty of parking there. No conflicts with established neighborhoods. And WHY would you need yet another wal-mart so close to two other ones, which serve a more diverse community of mixed housing types - large apartment complexes, along with owner occupied residential.

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