Construction Of New Wal-Mart Superstore May Hit Same Problems As Florida Store

Plans for the new Wal-Mart Superstore arrived at City Hall Friday but don't think you will be making your purchases there anytime soon. Last November Wal-Mart officials said it would take eight months to build after the City Commission gives it's final OK. That OK my be a long time coming.

The City is in the process of passing a "Design Guidelines And Standards For Commercial Development".

This "Guideline" will be costly and will add to the time required to get that "final OK".

Wal-Mart has been known to fight these "Guidelines" in other states. Here is a story from the Hernando Today Newspaper:

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - The county joined a nationwide trend to ban "big box" designs for large retail stores Tuesday, setting architectural designs for both commercial buildings and parking lots.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners agreed to overhaul the county’s commercial design ordinance and require new retail stores to incorporate various facades, landscaped parking lots and buffers around stores.

The ordinance would impact stores 25,000 square feet or larger.

The next likely store affected by the ordinance will be Wal-mart, which plans to be built on U.S. 19.

The ordinance is "fraught with restrictions," said Wal-mart consultant Todd Pressman.

To help loosen design restrictions, Pressman asked commissioners to allow more flat outdoor wall space and fewer facade variations. He also asked the board to allow stores more parking spaces than the new ordinance allows and less green space than it requires.

The board refused.

The new ordinance will mean large retail stores will have to have columns, canopies, arcades and colonnades. The ordinance also allows the buildings to have no more than 100 feet of flat outdoor wall without a break in design with another facade.

The predominant building material for new stores includes block, brick, glass and stucco.

Entryways have to be well defined with features including canopies, overhangs and peaked roofs.

"Vast unbroken parking lots" will also be a thing of the past.

The new ordinance requires grouping of parking spaces and separating each group with trees and vegetation. Each group will consist of no more than 100 parking spaces. Parking lots will also include walkways leading to store entrances.

The board also accepted Commissioner Diane Rowden’s proposal to require 35-feet wide vegetation buffers around new large retail stores.

Although half a dozen Wal-mart representatives came to the Tuesday meeting, Commission Chairman Chris Kingsley told residents the ordinance was not "a Wal-mart ordinance but a (design) ordinance in general."

"We’re not thrilled with everything (in the ordinance)," Pressman said, but added he was grateful that Wal-mart representatives were allowed to work with county employees writing the ordinance.

The new ordinance will increase the cost of building large retails stores by about 5 percent. The cost of the new Wal-mart retail store and parking lot on U.S. 19 is estimated to cost from $10 million to $15 million - plus 5 percent more because of the ordinance’s passage yesterday.