City Council 1, Wal-Mart 0
City Council vents spleen on proposed Wal-Mart
By Wells Dunbar,
1:30PM, Thu. Nov. 30, 2006
With Council seemingly going into hibernation early, the only fireworks prior to today's Redeemer zoning debate at 4pm (Hi Rich!) was an unexpected, ad hoc debate on the proposed "urban" Wal-Mart at Northcross Mall. Bloodletting, really. Members of Responsible Growth for Northcross, speaking during citizens communication, opened the entire loss-leading, family-sized can of worms, with their ire shared by most on the council.
We know it's hard to believe, but Brewster McCracken took the outraged lead. With his trademark repetition, he hammered home the fact that the proposed, 200,000-plus square-foot store would be the "largest retail establishment in Central Texas behind Cabela's and Ikea." McCracken also emphasized Wal-Mart would draw more traffic than all of Northcross currently does. Additionally, being larger than the Wal-Mart superstore at Ben White, he pontificated it would draw as many, if not more cars. Aside from not complying with the newly passed design standards ordinance, Brewster said the neighbor's exclusion was inexcusable. "The issue to me is a site plan was submitted with no notice to anybody... Neighbors needs to know more than the site plan's been filed -- (they need to be know) all hell's gonna break loose, get ready... This is some kinda radical expansion, what's happening on neighborhood streets."
Toby Futrell promised a timeline of the approval process, individual briefings for councilmembers, and a rundown of existing and possible tools for reining in the Bentonville beast (zoning laws, possibly noise or light ordinances relating to round-the-clock operating hours).