Prince George’s County, MD. Wal-Mart Expansion Blocked For Being "Too Large"
The Washington Post reports that Council members in Prince George’s County, Maryland voted on September 13th to shoot down a proposed expansion of an existing Wal-Mart store in Landover Hills, MD. The Council vote overturns a recommendation from the County’s Planning Board to OK the plan. Local community activists were pleased with the action of the County Council.
Neighbors told the Council that conditions inside and outside the store have deteriorated in the ten years since the store opened. Crime has been an issue at the store, and residents charge that instead of attracting more business and jobs, existing businesses have closed---notably the nearby Safeway grocery store—which lasted only a few years after Wal-Mart opened.
“Walmart has been a huge disappointment to the community,” activist Denise Hamler told The Post. Hamler heads an organization called the Community Standards Coalition, which brokered the original store agreement in 2006. “We were promised that once built, they could attract other retailers,” Hamler said. “That failed to happen.”
Other Prince George's residents said the conditions at the store were deplorable. “I feel like I’m being victimized by a slumlord,” one neighbor testified. “There is absolutely no reason why that site can’t look better.”
County Councilor Dannielle M. Glaros, who has the Wal-Mart in her district, complained this week that the 35,200-s.f. expansion was too large to be approved by county planning officials and should have undergone a more thorough screening. Glaros moved that the County Council vote down the expansion, which passed unanimously.
What you can do: But the case is not yet closed. Wal-Mart has the option to appeal the Council’s vote in court. The retailer can also ask for a “special-exception” zoning review, which opponents argued should have happened in the beginning. “We were ready to invest in the store and the community, so we’re pretty disappointed in today’s decision,’’ a Wal-Mart spokesman said. “At this time, we are reviewing our options in terms of next steps.”
To see the full story, go to: