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Your dealings with Walmart and Home Depot

Suburb Repairman

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Hi everyone,

I just got the un-nerving call that many small town planners fear... Guess who's coming to dinner...

WALMART & THE HOME DEPOT!!!

I am meeting with them on Monday to discuss their site plan for tree preservation and zoning issues. Do any of you have any advice from your dealings with them in the past?

I'm also looking for examples of tastfully done versions of these stores so that way I can say "Look, you've done this before..." We don't have any design regulations aside from a 100% masonry requirement and sign ordinance, so I'm pretty much stuck asking nicely for things. Our tree preservation/mitigation is pretty tough, so at least I have that to work with.

Any advice or humorous comments is appreciated!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
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3,889
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26
Home Depot:
Bartlett, IL - ok, but better than the standard
Fort Collins, Co - fairly nice architecture
Lake Geneva, Wi - I have pics of this one.

Wal-Mart:
Is there a well designed Wal-Mart?
-----------------------------------------------------------
This is the Lake Geneva, WI Home Depot:
415PA160008_Medium_.jpg

Awnings, and pilasters along a service drive side. This side doesn't face any other developed properties and is not highly visibile from any ROW.
415PA160007_Medium_.jpg
 
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SGB

Cyburbian
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26
been there, done that, kinda fun

First things first: do your research. Find out the developers' and staffs' names and then Google those suckers. Call communities where they've done projects before to get the inside scoop on their tactics, strengths, weaknesses, favorite donuts, etc.

If you back them into the corner on a site plan issue, they are likely to try and "buy" their way out of it. Think long term community benefits here, and tell them to PPO. (Don't forget to smile when you say that.)

If their site or sites require any infrastructure that benefit their projects only, with no potential for benefit of other properties - mandate that it remain privately owned, operated and maintained infrastructure. They'll hate you, but your public works department and taxpayers will thank you. You may have to do some hand-holding here such as pointing out local firms they can contract out the infrastructure maintanence to.

If you have a nearby downtown with an revitalization organization, WM and other big box retailers will financially support those efforts. Hell, they've even been known to provide direction signs at their exits to point traffic to the CBD. Make sure the downtown folks make any requests after land use approvals are final.
 

Suburb Repairman

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boiker said:
Home Depot:
Wal-Mart:
Is there a well designed Wal-Mart?
I think I saw I picture of one in Napa, California in one of their adds. It's probably a fake done in photoshop :-\

There may be hope that they do more than the bare minimum considering some of the wickedly bad press development has been getting around these parts (had a developer in THE TOWN NEXT DOOR level a 300ac hilltop of trees and defended it saying 'they were grandfathered'. The media frenzy was something to behold.).

These two stores are going in near a beautifully designed grocery store that saved nearly all of the hardwood trees larger than 6" that were not in the building footprint. I think they only had to mitgate 30" worth of trees. Maybe they will look to it for some guidance...yeah...probably not :-\
 

donk

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One of the reason's I left my last job was to avoid round 2 with those jokers. :-#

1) Find out everything you can about their consultants, what other things they've done and how have they turned out. Low prices extends to these fools also.

2) Make sure you have the By-laws ready for them and highlight items. Their consultants tend to try get you to do lots for them and have really poor reading comprehension. (See 1)

3) Make sure that you set the ground rules for submissions and justification reports at the first meeting (See 2)

4) As for donuts, give them the stale ones from yesterday (See item 1, they are used to pinching pennies). :)

5) Look at other "nice" big box locations nearby, use them as the starting point. One of teh joys of a rezoning is that we ussually get to attach some terms and condtions to it, horse trading works also.
 
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2
Non-prototype Home Depot

Suburb Repairman said:
I'm also looking for examples of tastfully done versions of these stores so that way I can say "Look, you've done this before..." We don't have any design regulations aside from a 100% masonry requirement and sign ordinance, so I'm pretty much stuck asking nicely for things. Our tree preservation/mitigation is pretty tough, so at least I have that to work with.

Any advice or humorous comments is appreciated!
My City recently approved a non-prototype Home Depot that involved the disturbance of approximately 13 acres with approximately 147,000 cubic yards of cut and 71,000 cubic yards of fill, the realignment of a creek (Corps jurisdictional waterway), removal of over 200 trees.

When HD submitted preliminary prototypical elevations I asked for and received elevations complementary to our Sierra Nevada Foothill environment. These elevations included timber trusses, gabled roof canopies, stone veneer columns. The Planning Commission and City Council raved about the compatible aesthetic appearance. We conditioned the project to require replacement of native oak and pine at a ratio of 2:1 to the amount removed.

My point is, ask for what you want.
 

Plannerbabs

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Don't let them design in a vacuum, either. Like Woonerf said, if there's a vernacular they can use, make them use it. In the same vein, if there are any bus routes nearby, sidewalks, etc, use 'em. Ours put in bus stops.
 

Zoning Goddess

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Ours always came in with local planners/attorneys we had worked with a lot, so it was less painful. They seemed to have fairly broad powers of negotation, not on the buildings, but on the rest of the site design. Home Depot was really very good about tree replacement, when pressured just a little.
 

biscuit

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I wasn't here at the time, but I heard second hand that Home Depot was a major pain in the a$$ to work with when they were looking to build in my city. In all I think we got the setbacks and required plantings but got zero deviation from their corporate architecture.

I would suggest contacting the town of Mt. Pleasant, SC. It's a booming burb (pop. of about 50,000) of Charleston that has very strict design standards that resulted in both Wal-Mart and Lowes Home Improvement building exceptionally nice structures there.
 

mgk920

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I would also do whatever you can to prohibit 'no compete' deed restrictions on the building and land. My sense is that this is one of the biggest obstacles to re-using 'big box' structures (or ANY commercial structures, for that matter) when the original occupants move on.

Mike
 

Lee Nellis

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re Home Depot: make sure your conditions of approval are clear about the location and extent of outdoor storage. They have a tendency to stack things everywhere.
 

Gedunker

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Lee Nellis said:
re Home Depot: make sure your conditions of approval are clear about the location and extent of outdoor storage. They have a tendency to stack things everywhere.
Lee's comment is right on target. We saw this happen in a nearby town and were ready for it and have been pleased that "seasonal sale/display areas" have worked as intended. Of course, they show a parking field on their site plans but never a cart-return area (which always ends up consuming parking).

We required WM to include and develop connectors to lots north and south, complete with sidewalks, and now that those other parcels are developing, it will be possible to go nearly 3/4 mile from one development to another all along private property without entering the major arterial street. I understand from one of the adjacent private developers that WM was a bit difficult to work with in regards to a planned tenant that WM didn't like, but that was apparently overcome.

HD has been easy to work with, although their engineers on this project were incapable of dealing with our steep slopes.
 

solarstar

Cyburbian
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207
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I agree with the comment about outdoor storage (for both projects). If you don't already have a big-box ordinance, now's the time to get it going! We held our ground on our regs and were able to get pedestrian areas, benches, lots of trees, facade, etc. Once they realized we weren't flexing on everything they weren't bad to work with at all. (Of course, you'll no doubt get the threat that they'll go somewhere else if you don't flex, so you'll need to be prepared to either hold your ground and face the wrath of politicians and economic development types, or flex and accommodate). For the second Wal-Mart, there was an attempt to get annexed into an adjoining community without a big-box ordinance - it's tied up in litigation so we'll see what happens. Good luck! o:)
 

Suburb Repairman

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My meeting with them went surprisingly well this morning. The engineer they are working with has a good reputation in the area and a history of decent efforts at tree preservation. They said that they were looking at a fancier facade than normal due to our demographics and area architecture, and would bring something in for me to eyeball before going forward. Personally, I'll believe it when I see it.

You should have seen their reaction on the tree preservation requirements 8-! We don't allow for off-site/fees-in-lieu, so they have to mitgate all trees removed on-site. They are also having a little heartburn over the sign requirements, which is legit considering the regs weren't written with 100,000+ s.f. stores in mind. Surprisingly, they didn't flip out on the monument sign requirement, probably because their buildings are on a hilltop and will be very visible from the road anyway.

They will have to go through a zoning change, which will force them to take public opinion into account.

I'm feeling a little better now that I know more about the project. At least they haven't asked for tax abatements...yet...
 

boilerplater

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This Is Kitsch!!!

This is the Lake Geneva, WI Home Depot:
http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/data/507/415PA160008_Medium_.JPG

You guys really think that's much of an improvement? Its stage-set architecture. Its putting parsley around the pig! Its such a superficial treatment of the problem. If you have to have big boxes, put green roofs on them, plant the hell out of the parking lot and around the building, and use constructed wetlands for runoff treatment. Just swath the thing in vegetation. At least you'll be replacing some lost habitat. That's something steel awnings and ornamental dodads can't do. Don't let them bully you into clearing all the vegetation so that the building is highly visible from the road. A town near me made them (Home Depot) construct a 20' berm that effectively hides much of the building.
 

ludes98

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Glad your meeting went well. All the suggestions so far are good. Generally the engineer will be your main contact and they work with the architect on a parallel and coordinated track. Ask for alot expect less. The letter of your code is the miniumum requirement, and stipulations are negotiable. If you lack support from your electeds you might find out the ugly way how negotiable they are when they remove the stips and approve.
 

michaelskis

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We are in the process of getting our Wal-Mart and they have fought us on just about everything, tried to get variances, and we stood up to them and won. It will not be as great as we would like it, but we can only require what our ordinance regulates.

As for the Depot… that is another story. They have been here since I have been here, and we have had all sorts of problems with them when it comes to out side storage, noise, and trash and debris.
 

Repo Man

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From what I have heard from local planners, Wal Mart pushes signage like crazy. They will try and bribe your community with promises of donations for youth activity, 4th of july parades, and other civic activities. They figure that communities are cash-strapped. To a City a $1000 donation for athletic supplies is a big deal. To wal mart it is like giving a homeless person a dime. 1000 bucks is nothing to them. Stick to your signage requirements.

Also, make sure you check their materials once the start. In one local situation they tried using different materials than they showed the Plan Commission.
 

boiker

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Repo Man said:
From what I have heard from local planners, Wal Mart pushes signage like crazy. They will try and bribe your community with promises of donations for youth activity, 4th of july parades, and other civic activities. They figure that communities are cash-strapped. To a City a $1000 donation for athletic supplies is a big deal. To wal mart it is like giving a homeless person a dime. 1000 bucks is nothing to them. Stick to your signage requirements.

Also, make sure you check their materials once the start. In one local situation they tried using different materials than they showed the Plan Commission.
Even after approval and COs you have to keep on top of enforcement. Especially the new supercenters w/ gas stations. Banners, crap signs , etc galore!
 

SGB

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Repo Man said:
To a City a $1000 donation for athletic supplies is a big deal. To wal mart it is like giving a homeless person a dime. 1000 bucks is nothing to them.
[ot]All of the big boxes waive their potential community donations as a carrot befort the community. RM is right, to them it's nothing. The local independant retailers they drive from local markets give a higher percentage of gross revenues to their communities than WM or the others ever have, or ever will.[/ot]
 

tsc

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In my town, part of their approvals included no outdoor storage...well who has seen a WalMart or HomeDepot without outdoor storage? Both just do what they want... and pay the fines as it is worth it for them to pay the fines (thousands of dollars) then go without the outdoor storage.
 

Suburb Repairman

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Update!

Here's an update following last night's city council meeting...

Walmart was dropped from the proposal sometime back due to public outcry (and they didn't like the site that much anyway).

Home Depot came in as a special use permit. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted it down 6-0 with one abstaining. The City Council affirmed the recommendation of P&Z, voting to deny the SUP 3-2. No matter what side people were on with this, the process was good for the city. For once, people in this little bedroom community took some real interest in what was going on. In a city of 5,000, I got 610 hits from seperate IP addresses for a non-scientific online poll conducted on the city website. We had about 150 people show up at the City Council public hearing last night.

Now, for the part that bothers me. This developer was really trying hard to address all of the concerns that the public had. They were willing to use materials and architecture that reflect the surroundings, subject to the City's approval. They were willing to fix one of our major traffic problem areas. Even with the Dark Sky Ordinance, they were going to be lit well below the max level and were going to shut off 75% of the lights after closing. Rather than a buffer, they were going to place several acres between the Home Depot and the residential area in a nature preserve dedicated to the city. Taking the entire development into account, impervious cover was only going to be about 55%. I'm hoping that something else doesn't come in that will not require a SUP since our current ordinance doesn't give us the same level of control that we had with the SUP. I'm kind of excited that our city took a stand against big-boxes personally, but I'm not entirely sure this was the correct decision. There's a lot of property outside our city limits that this thing could locate on and the city would have no say and still be impacted by all the negatives.

At least the people got involved, which is a nice change from the past. I don't know if this was the right decision, but at least they put a lot of thought into it before they decided.
 

permaplanjuneau

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They just keep coming...but what about the impacts?

Do these companies plan on attacking cities in tandem, or is it just coincidence? Both are on thier way into Juneau, AK...Wal-Mart is taking over an abandoned K-Mart (on illegal wetland fill, the selling price more than made up for the puny fines levied against the original owner) and its rediculously oversized parking lot. Home Depot is negotiating with the city to buy 10 acres in a nearly expired city gravel pit.

At least there won't be any new clearing or wetland disturbance for either of the projects. Of course Fred Meyer, our only big-box besides Costco, is trying to beat both of them to the punch with a massive 60,000 square-foot plus expansion to their existing building...It's like watching a soap-box derby where none of the cars have breaks, and the hill just gets steeper and steeper... :-c

We have no design regulations outside of our historic district (thankfully neither project is anywhere near the historic area), and rumor has it that Wal-Mart is already trying to get around our sign standards...I'm just thankful that I'm not the contact for the project (yet).

My question for the forum has to do with establishing impact fees for project like these. We know that their development schedules are much faster than we could hope to have an impact assessment fee system in place, but several of the intersections that will be impacted by Fred Meyer's expansion, the re-opening of the Mart building, the new Home Depot, and a handful of other project by local developers (16 retail lots here, 40 condos there, a new mobile home park in between) are already operating at an abysmal level.

Everyone from the developers (local and big box alike) to the State DOT and various city departments are about to jump through their skin at the thought of how bad the traffic will be if all of these projects go through, but nobody can figure out how to get everyone to pay their fair share. The first step is, of course, to do traffic studies, but rather than doing one comprehensive study all the developers have already started their own studies (which will certainly all minimize the potential impacts of each project).

To say the least, we're feeling a little overwhelmed. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

ludes98

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permaplanjuneau, has your street system been built out to it's full capacity? Right turn decel lanes? Most cities here require full half street improvements for new projects and large expansions. Many of these companies will want to do some improvements if it means getting customers in their parking lot. Out? Well that is a different story... :)
 

Chet

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SGB said:
If their site or sites require any infrastructure that benefit their projects only, with no potential for benefit of other properties - mandate that it remain privately owned, operated and maintained infrastructure. They'll hate you, but your public works department and taxpayers will thank you
I agree to the externt it is allowed. In Wisconsin the Public Service Commission mandates utility ownership of watermains, even those serving private developments.
 

MitchBaby

Cyburbian
Messages
198
Points
7
WalMart in Vancouver

I don't know if its applicable, but the City of Vancouver told walmart to come back to the table with something unique and totally different from the usual big box retail. The new submission is a completely Green Site, including water reclamation, treed parking lot, windmill, geothermal heating. The full-meal-deal.

Here's the link to the news story about it.

http://www.canada.com/vancouver/van...d=7352ecf7-1971-40e6-a60b-ab0a30840e87&page=1
 

brian_w

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Messages
35
Points
2
I heard once, don't remember the source, that big box places like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. expect to hear no at least three times from the cities they go into, so they start with the cheapest box they can get away with and add a little to the plan every time the City says no until they say yes thinking they've got a great product out of them.

We took this approach when Wal-Mart tried to shoe-horn in a Super Wal-Mart into an urban neighborhood. We kept telling them no, it wasn't the right site and even if it was, the architecture was poor, they came back a few times and were told no, until, I'm assuming, they reached a point where what we were requiring architecturally was more than they wanted to invest in the site.
 

Cardinal

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10,080
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metroboi said:
I saw this at christmas and couldn't help but stop and take a photo. This is 1/2 of a Super Walmart. I could not get it all into the shot from that hill.

This is what you get if you don't negotiate

http://www.urbancharlotte.com/ptx2/v3.dir/walmart_vomits.jpg
Location - Anyplace, USA)
Beautiful! Commerce at its finest! Think of all the tax dollars rolling into this city. I'll bet its neighbors are feeling the pain.
 
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Suburb Repairman

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Update

Since I'm the one that started this thread six months ago, I figured that I'd give you all an update.

We've gone round-n-round with the development company that is working with Home Depot. Though they don't always communicate well, they do respond very well to constructive criticism. When I told them I didn't like something, I always offered solutions and pictures of what we are after. They have ended up doing a SUP/PUD for the entire development, so we have full control of individual issues with the development.

They've addressed all of the traffic and according to our City Engineer, traffic flow may actually improve in the area because of the increased connectivity. This will provide a relief for a bottlenecked state highway due to an elementary school (why someone puts a school on a major state highway with the playground in front and no soccer mom pick-up area is beyond me). They have negotiated with a neighboring development to realign and dedicate a new road, fixing a past planning mistake of the city. They've also taken care of the safety issues involving the road access onto another major highway. In addition to that, they are including better pedestrian features in the parking lot, sidewalks along the new road and realignment (we don't require sidewalks in our ordinance yet), and bicycle lanes.

They are donating 10 acres to the library district (not a bribe, previous owner required it with purchase apparently). Which is great for all the kids running around here. The bike lanes and sidewalks will help kids walk there from the nearby elementary school.

We smacked them around pretty hard on landscaping and they have responded well. We have a sixty-foot conservation buffer around the property that will keep the view from nearby residences intact as well as the views along the residential road so all the NIMBY's can keep their view. They are significantly landscaping throughout the parking lot and along the new road. They are having some trouble mitigating the trees because the property was practically a forest. We might need to relax our stuff a little to let them pay into the tree fund more (we limit to 25%).

We haven't finished working out the sign details, but I think we can get the rest of that addressed soon.

Architecture: This thing is going to look pretty sweet as far as pigs go. Assuming it passes, I'll post pics. It will have a unified architecture theme that reflects the area (kind of a country look with lots of native stone). Outside sales seems to be an issue still, but I think we can work that out.

We have a Dark Sky Ordinance, but we're adding an additional requirement that light levels are reduced to 25% after closing (this thing was low-lit to start with because of the ordinance).


I personally do not like big box stores. However, I've had to do a little soul-searching on this project. This thing could easily move across the street and out of the city limits where we have no real control and would still suffer most of the negative impacts. We don't really have any local businesses that will be negatively effected. I really cannot complain about the developers on this as they have done practically everything I asked. I'm actually surprised that they stuck with the project after the raping they got at a couple of meetings (we have some of those "absolutely no growth period" folks that are causing me a lot of headaches). They don't understand that there are some things that could go in under the existing zoning that I believe would have a far worse impact and the City would not have the control we do with this project.

I have managed to maintain my publicly neutral stance on this, explaining that my job was to determine what the issues were and find ways to address them (this thing has turned into a really ugly political firefight that I'm trying to distance myself from).

We have the public hearing in front of the P&Z Commission tonight. It's the only thing on the agenda, but I still expect it to go 4 hours. I remember back when I had a social life. It sure was nice.
 

Suburb Repairman

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Here are the results from the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing. The Commission voted 5-4 to grant a special use permit with conditions as recommended by staff. The meeting took 5 hours and 25 minutes with this being the only issue on the agenda.

Since this began in July, I have spent about 175 hours agonizing over this project with reports, traffic analysis, noise analysis, etc. I'm just glad they voted on the damn thing instead of tabling. I would have been happy with an approval or denial as long as some kind of action was taken. At least now I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel on this and it will be leaving my desk soon.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going go home and get very intoxicated and not come in to work tomorrow. :b: :-b



I wish I could say my conscience is clear, but it's not. I preach and rail against big box stores, yet I practically endorsed one tonight (SUP criteria were all adequately satisfied per the ordinance). If it didn't locate on this site with the enhanced SUP management tool, it was going to go across the street and outside the City where we have NO real control and we would still get the negative side effects (they had an option on that property as well if this fell through). The only reasons they didn't go there in the first place were that they have a reputation for working well with cities and the other site had some minor flooding issues. The developers accepted nearly every challenge I gave them. This is going to be a nice-looking project with very little negative side effect. Yet, I feel bad because of my concern about the local hardware store that is run by a really nice guy. He is the only business that will be significantly effected (we do not have much in the way of little local stores here and the ones we do have won't be affected by Home Depot, so I didn't have that as an arguement against).

Here I am at 23, and I think my idealism about planning has been completely shattered. :-| This is practically my hometown (went to high school about 10 miles away), so this was a little personal for me.
 

SW MI Planner

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3,194
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26
Suburb Repairman said:
I wish I could say my conscience is clear, but it's not. I preach and rail against big box stores, yet I practically endorsed one tonight (SUP criteria were all adequately satisfied per the ordinance). If it didn't locate on this site with the enhanced SUP management tool, it was going to go across the street and outside the City where we have NO real control and we would still get the negative side effects (they had an option on that property as well if this fell through). The only reasons they didn't go there in the first place were that they have a reputation for working well with cities and the other site had some minor flooding issues. The developers accepted nearly every challenge I gave them. This is going to be a nice-looking project with very little negative side effect. Yet, I feel bad because of my concern about the local hardware store that is run by a really nice guy. He is the only business that will be significantly effected (we do not have much in the way of little local stores here and the ones we do have won't be affected by Home Depot, so I didn't have that as an arguement against).
Don't beat yourself up too much - you worked your butt off to get a product that everyone (hopefully) will be satisfied with. You said yourself they could have gone in the across the street and it would have ended up a lot worse situation and your city wouldn't have any control. Sometimes you have to weigh the good and bad and be thankful that the outcome wasn't as bad as it could be.
 

boiker

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Messages
3,889
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26
I saw this at christmas and couldn't help but stop and take a photo. This is 1/2 of a Super Walmart. I could not get it all into the shot from that hill.

This is what you get if you don't negotiate

http://www.urbancharlotte.com/ptx2/v3.dir/walmart_vomits.jpg
Location - Anyplace, USA)
[sarcasm]
Hey! We've got that! If we negotiated they would've cut-n-run. GOod thing we didnt. [sarcasm]

Suburb Repairman, I can't get my city to allow me 30 days to review an application before it is scheduled on a commission agenda. It's the ordinance that I can wait 60 days. I get shotdown and told to cram stuff through in a month. Earlier this year, I reviewed and sent through a 100 acre university master plan in about 3 weeks along with 6 other rezoning and special use cases
 
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hilldweller

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3,865
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23
[sarcasm]
Hey! We've got that! If we negotiated they would've cut-n-run. GOod thing we didnt. [sarcasm]
Ah yes, your leaders have the the self-esteem of a $2 hooker. Ours have the self-esteem of a $1 hooker if it makes you feel any better:r:.

Wally and Co. wiped out a bunch of wetlands and trees. One of the big boxes went in at 85% impervious (as a PUD), a drainage debacle in waiting (we don't have a competant engineer). Staff collected the tree mitigation fee, which doesn't mitigate anything because the City Council spends the money on road-widening (even though the code dictates it can only go towards conservation). The CM bled them a bit for road cash, but not nearly enough so that the tax-payers won't be on the hook for a big chunk of what is needed. And the cherry on top is that the big boxes look like crap (the corporate prototype, that is).
 

b3nr

Cyburbian
Messages
272
Points
10
This thread is fascinating. :)

I haven't had much contact with large retailers, and obviously, they can't quite get away with stores like the one in the picture above in the UK (nearly though). WalMart just bought the UK's second largest supermarket chain, ASDA. And the way Tesco's (the largest chain)bribes, bullies and bends the rules is pretty legendary. Seems these boys act the same anywhere...
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
why would you pen "regulations" if you really wanted a little more?
Excellent Point. The regulations should demand what standards you expect at a minimum. Or. we could just contract zone the whole damn thing :);-)
 

jmello

Cyburbian
Messages
2,583
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22
Call the Town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The planners there have gotten both Wal*Mart and Home Depot to build relatively attractive stores with plentiful landscaping. The Wal*Mart is barely visible from the roadway due to buffering. The site has sidewalks, a roundabout, park area and room for a planned commuter rail station.

Edit: Just read the rest of the posts. Sounds like you got a decent product as well. Did the best you could do.
 

TexanOkie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,903
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20
Round Rock, TX

Walmart_-_Round_Rock_TX.jpg

I'm not sure how Round Rock, Texas got this out of Wal-Mart or why Wal-Mart agreed to it, but it's definitely not ordinary...
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,902
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57
Walmart_-_Round_Rock_TX.jpg

I'm not sure how Round Rock, Texas got this out of Wal-Mart or why Wal-Mart agreed to it, but it's definitely not ordinary...
Yeah, I don't know. I think it is almost worse than a 2-tone box. It's still a giant hulking pre-cast cube with a 300 spaces surface parking lot.

(insert "lipstick/pig" metaphor here) :r:
 

b3nr

Cyburbian
Messages
272
Points
10
Yeah, I don't know. I think it is almost worse than a 2-tone box. It's still a giant hulking pre-cast cube with a 300 spaces surface parking lot.

(insert "lipstick/pig" metaphor here) :r:
Agreed, the fact that it vaguely and some what half heatedly attempts to façade the very thing it helps to destroy (a mixed walkable retail area) hardly makes it a reason for celebration. Also, I'm guessing its just this side? One side facing a car park, a brick thick? Perhaps two? With the shed behind.

Ah well, tis the way of the world.
 

elpnct

Member
Messages
21
Points
2
I agree with Boiker

The most recent WalMart I have worked on seemed to be a magnet for used cars dumped for sale in the parking lot, banners flying from the trees, cardboard signs tacked to the trees and so on. Code Enforcement was literally a daily thing.

However those trees were part of a well defined on sight circulation pattern and entrance road (stacking space) configuration. All islands were fully landscaped. Through enforcement of the Florida class #1 or Florida Fancy quality landscape standards the manager unltimately paid gardeners to prune, shape and horticulturally manicure the place. Standard big box, good site work, lots of inspection diligence.
 

TexanOkie

Cyburbian
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2,903
Points
20
Agreed, the fact that it vaguely and some what half heatedly attempts to façade the very thing it helps to destroy (a mixed walkable retail area) hardly makes it a reason for celebration. Also, I'm guessing its just this side? One side facing a car park, a brick thick? Perhaps two? With the shed behind.

Ah well, tis the way of the world.
As far as I know, the building has a similar facade on three sides. Yes it has a giant parking lot in front. However, Round Rock is a little more on the conservative side, and I doubt were trying to implement any walkable, mixed-use design (and this particular site was agrarian prior to construction). My point in posting this was to show that Wal-Mart is often willing to work with cities provided they don't put up a fight. If they put up a fight, they'll just push through the normal box store.

A good example: Wal-Mart is putting in a supercenter off of Anderson and Burnet Roads in Austin, near MoPac. Wal-Mart actually went to the city and expressed it's desire to maintain the funky character of the Austin and Austin's push for mixed-use developments, and worked with the planning staff for several months coming up with a design that was two-story store with private lease-able offices along the front and structured parking underneath and behind the store. When civic and neighborhood groups began protesting and lobbying city council, the elected body caved and stopped working with Wal-Mart to come up with a mutually-agreeable design. After several more months, Wal-Mart became increasingly frustrated and wound up pushing through their normal box format with huge parking lot at the same location. Austin therefore lost something that could have set a highly successful precedent. Similar stories can be found in north Dallas (near Love Field) and Irving, Texas, and I'm sure elsewhere.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
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22
More like 900 spaces in front. :) Retailers like to park at 1/200. Bentonville will agree to architectural upgrades if the return will be good for them. Home Depot and Target won't though in my limited experience with them.
 

PlanninTech

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
Orlando Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart recently added a store on I-4 by Sea World (I know, bleh)... however the design of the store is not too bad. I can't recall how many tree's were saved or planted, but the store facade isn't too bad... better than most.
 

rift

Member
Messages
16
Points
1
do you want them?

My question is, does your community actually want them in town? If not, I can make a recommendation as to how to keep them out. Contact the City of Turlock, CA Community Development Department and ask them about their anti big box ordinance, inspired by a well publicized, rather unpleasant fight with Wal-Mart in the past 2 years. There is currently a very old, very ugly Wal-Mart in that town, and I can assure you, there will be no bigger, better store coming anytime soon. Here's Turlock's contact info:

City of Turlock
Community Development Department
156 S. Broadway, Suite 120
Turlock, CA 95381
(209) 668-5640
planning@turlock.ca.us
http://www.ci.turlock.ca.us/citydepartments/communityplanning/
 
Messages
20
Points
2
Is it really any better?

I agree with those who don't feel like a nicer facade is much of a victory for the city. Its still Walmart and it still is an unwalkable monstrosity that hurts the urban fabric.

I would much rather have Walmart make some other contributions to the city (monetary, parks, maybe something more creative) than fight for aesthetic materials. Or if you are going to fight, fight to work the complex into the neighborhood so that its more walkable and human scale. This may be an impossible task. For example would Walmart consider having parking on the side, with one side fronting the street? A separate entrance? This would be a concrete civic improvement.
 

vagaplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
296
Points
10
When I worked for a small city in Kansas, Wal-Mart used what is referred to as a "micro-forest" landscaping concept, which consists of using larger landscape islands, as opposed to say, one island for every ten parking spaces. It worked out nicely and still looks great! They used a lot of transplanted trees, instead of the two-inch twigs that usually die. In terms of landscaping, I would put that Wal-Mart against any other that I've ever seen. I would highly recommend this method of landscaping.
 
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