WalMart a prominent controversy in public hearing tonight

cityoffrederickgraphic_featuredWednesday evening (July 10, 2013), starting at 7:00pm, the City of Frederick will be holding a public hearing at City Hall, at which a proposed Walmart Supercenter is certain to generate a lot of attention and public comment.

In order for the WalMart to be developed on the site of the now-defunct Fredericktowne Mall, the city must make a zoning change, from Mixed Use to General Commercial, as part of a broader comprehensive rezoning underway.

A key question throughout the process has been whether or not the proposed zoning change would be consistent with the city’s Golden Mile Small Area Plan.

From the plan:

goldenmilesmallareaplan“The design and redevelopment of the Golden Mile is framed and organized by the following principles: Walkable, Connected, Vibrant, Safe, Complete, Attractive and Sustainable. These principles merge together the aspirations, goals, and policies of the Comprehensive Plan with resident input for the Golden Mile into a concise set of ordering principles.”

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen have been considering a variety of conditions — general concepts and goals, not detailed requirements — that would make it possible for them to determine that the WalMart Supercenter was compatible with the values and principles and goals outlined in the Golden Mile Small Area Plan.

The WalMart will not be able to develop on the site if the city’s elected officials do not change the current zoning.

Here is a recent article from the Frederick News Post about the hearing:

Rezoning for Wal-Mart would have conditions
Thursday, June 20, 2013
By Patti S. Borda

And here is the relevant excerpt:

Wal-Mart or no Wal-Mart, the Frederick Towne Mall site will have conditions attached to its rezoning if it gets rezoned next month, city officials agreed Wednesday.

The Board of Aldermen came to the conclusion that conditionally rezoning the property at 1301 W. Patrick St. to general commercial zoning has the potential to advance the city’s long-range plans for the area’s redevelopment. They agreed the conditions attached to the rezoning should be general concepts and goals, not a specific plan that Wal-Mart has presented.

“We’re creating a legal zoning map, not a site plan,” said Saundra Nickols, city attorney.

Dave Severn, attorney for Rockwood Capital, which owns the mall site, presented Wednesday a revised Wal-Mart plan that incorporated several of the most recent comments from the planning commission and aldermen. Wal-Mart has incorporated goals such as interconnectivity, landscaping, pedestrian and bicycle access, and community spaces into its plan for a store.

The store has specially designed architectural features to look like more than one solid building, and pad sites in the parking area could be used by restaurants, cafes and similar businesses.

The detailed site plan and several revisions came in response to concerns that granting the rezoning could allow development the city did not intend.

“’We want to see a site plan,’ is what I’ve heard,” Severn said. “’We want to see what you’re going to do,’ so we did a site plan.”

Wal-Mart’s plan already contains written conditions to describe how it intends to achieve goals set by the city’s Golden Mile Small Area Plan. He and Nickols could turn those conditions into general concepts suitable to be attached to the conditional rezoning, he and she said.

The public will have an opportunity July 10 to consider the proposed conditions for the mall property and the Conley Farm property at 199 Baughman’s Lane.


Below are a variety of links to related information and sites.

City of Frederick’s Golden Mile Small Area Plan

City of Frederick’s Golden Mile home page

City of Frederick’s Comprehensive Planning home page

On Facebook: Stop Wal-Mart on Rt 40 in Frederick

An “event page” on Facebook (created this morning): We don’t need another Walmart PETITION: STOP WAL-MART ON ROUTE 40 IN FREDERICK MARYLAND!

July 6, 2013 Envision Frederick County “Guest Blog” entry by Steve Holman: Another WalMart: Not good for Frederick or the Golden Mile!

June 10th Public hearing on conditions for rezoning Frederick Towne Mall site and Conley Farm


The WalMart / Golden Mile controversy in the local media

Open a chronological listing of links to news articles, editorials, columns and letters to the editor from the News Post, Gazette other news sources about this issue.

Please note this from the News Archive home page:

Envision Frederick County is compiling an archive of news articles, editorials, columns and letters to the editor, from a range of local and regional publications. The archive will grow to include well more than 1,000 entries, covering the last decade or so.

In other words, the link above will take you to some, but not all of the “news articles, editorials, columns and letters to the editor” about this issue, as we are working to catch up with the past.