Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another Wal-Mart SuperCenter, Another 51 Acres

It's all up to the Knightdale, N.C., Town Council now, and their decision will depend on who they're more afraid of ... the development-at-any-cost lobby or their residential neighborhoods.

Knightdale is a suburb (now), east of Raleigh. It passed a comprehensive new development ordinance last fall which is supposed to help create "pedestrian-friendly urban centers that mix commerce and housing." Much as the new comprehensive plan for Boone is trying to do.

Along comes that squat bullfrog, Wal-Mart, which wants to climb onto the Knightdale lily pad. Wal-Mart (through its paid development agent) wants to plop down a 206,000 square foot SuperCenter on 51 acres adjacent to two residential neighborhoods.

Last night the Knightdale planning board voted 4-2 against the project (following almost three hours of contentious testimony, debate, and deliberation). Final decision now moves to the town council.

Been there, done that. Only in Boone's case, the final decision went to the Board of Adjustment, which was not swayed by the array of lawyers that Wal-Mart sent in to threaten and cajol. (They warned, darkly, for example, that they might just abandon Boone altogether.) If memory serves, the Board of Adjustment was almost unanimous in voting that a SuperCenter was out of character. Thanks, but no thanks.

Don't know what the internal politics are like in Knightdale, but this Wal-Mart decision is likely to intensify them.

No comments: