Despite vehement opposition from residents and neighboring businesses, a Mount Pleasant Walmart Neighborhood Market will most likely open in the next year or so.
The Planning Commission is expected to approve the company's site plan at its Aug. 22 meeting, clearing the way for construction to begin. The store is planned for the old Little Saints day care site just west of the intersection of Highways 20 and 31. This would be the second Walmart in the area; a is on Durand Avenue in Sturtevant.
staffers worked with Walmart representatives on the site plan to make it more attractive and fit within village development requirements.
"We have worked extensively with Walmart to achieve a higher quality design of the site, building and landscaping," said Logan Martin, community development coordinator.
In all, Mount Pleasant Planning is recommending approval as long as Walmart adheres to a list of some 27 site plan improvements.
One of the largest requirements is moving the parking lot off Washington Avenue, and pushing the back of the building closer to the street. Parking will be behind the building, and materials used on the back of the building must closely resemble the facade. Other conditions include:
- Shopping carts corraled inside the store if not in the cart return areas in the parking lot;
- Tabletop speed bumps in the parking lot similar to those at the new Pick-n-Save at Highways 11 and 31;
- Landscaping of various heights and variety to soften the look at the wall that faces Washington Avenue;
- Dumpsters enclosed and also enhanced with landscaping;
- A mix of honey locust and autumn blaze maple trees in the parkway on Washington Avenue.
How we got here
Getting to this point has taken about a year. , and met its first hint of . The hearing was required because a small parcel at the corner of the proposed site was still zoned for agriculture instead of commercial.
At the top of residents' concerns was that . The Neighborhood Market would essentially be the fourth grocery store at the intersection of Highway 31 and Washington Avenue, joining , and Gordon Food Service.
"Can anyone here think of anywhere there are four stores on the same corner? You can't because it doesn't exist," said Sentry Owner Greg Schilz at the time. "There won't be peace and harmony where we all prosper because this is about competition."
Ultimately, the because it fit with the village's 2030 comprehensive land use plan. Still, showing that a Walmart would not negatively impact the grocers in the immediate area.
But in October 2011, that defended Walmart's plan and put the onus for survival on the surrounding businesses. that showed a Neighborhood Market in such close proximity to their stores could prove fatal.
In the end, though, there was little .
"One of the reasons you can't deny the proposed use is that the property is already zoned for this particular use," said Village Attorney Tim Pruit last May. "The second strike is that it’s consistent with the village's comprehensive plan that designates Highway 20 as a commerical corridor."
The Planning Commission meets at 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at Mount Pleasant Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive. Call (262) 664-7800.