Ringling Walmart project raises committee questions

Photo: Walmart.com

During its Sept. 5 meeting, the city’s Development Review Committee put the proposed Walmart “supercenter” slated for Ringling Boulevard in its crosshairs.

Engineer Joshua Bryant noted that neighboring residents, during a voluntary community meeting Walmart held in August, had asked about access to Payne Park. “We have provided an alternative route along south Lime Avenue,” he said.

The city’s arborist asked about plans to protect a banyan tree on the southern property line, and Bryant said he was working on it.

City Planner David Smith said the project passes “transportation concurrency” – a big hurdle.

The new store will occupy the site of the city’s first shopping center, at Ringling and Lime. The old Publix grocery store and strip mall will be torn down.

Bill Swick with the Engineering Department asked for several features, including “turning templates” for waste collection vehicles, a synopsis of the waste recycling plan (including cardboard and wood) and a diagram of the location of public and private utility infrastructure.

The city’s case planner, Courtney Mendez, noted the design does not include long-term bicycle parking. “You have bike parking on both sides [of the store], so perhaps you could enclose one side to meet the requirement for 50% long-term storage,” she said.

She, too, wanted details regarding waste disposal plans, including information about enclosures planned around receptacles.

Additionally, Mendez said low-impact design features may be used when the sidewalk along Charles Ringling Boulevard is rebuilt. “There’s a possibility for a pervious surface or bioswales,” she said. “There are other LID projects along Ringling.”

The Development Review Committee is composed of senior and mid-level staffers who check developers’ plans for compliance with city requirements – fire hydrant spacing, landscaping, tree preservation, mass-transit options, stormwater treatment and a host of other factors. The system is designed to prevent late-breaking surprises for developers and their representatives.

Walmart hopes to open the store, which includes a grocery, in 2014.