Walmart Wants to Open Neighbood Market On Buckner Near Scyene, But City Staff's Not a Fan

When Walmart made its big to-do back in February about opening "more than a dozen new projects in the city of Dallas, including at least three new stores in Southern Dallas," among the locations mentioned was a Neighborhood Market on S. Buckner and Scyene Road that would provide "that community with a large selection of affordable groceries and fresh produce, as well as a pharmacy." We know now precisely where that'll go: on Buckner at Blossom Lane, on a spot formerly occupied by, among other things, a used-car lot. Says its application going to the City Plan Commission (near the bottom) on Thursday, Walmart wants to build a 42,500-square foot grocery store.

But in two separate but obviously related items going before the CPC -- one involving rezoning, another concerning the sale of alcohol -- city staff is recommending denial on both counts.

Regarding the zoning, Sustainable Development staff doesn't like the looks of the layout. I asked Theresa O'Donnell, head of Sustainable Development, to explain:

Yes, our primary concerns were with the site design and ingress/egress of autos and trucks on residential zoning across the street and to the west. We believe the access impacts will be intrusive on the neighborhood. The case report mentions this -- majority of the subject property is now residential zoning, and this application takes it to commercial. That change does not provide for the same review process as the rest of the Buckner corridor.

Our preference would have been to recommend approval with the conditions we listed re:site design and access issues but the representative was unable to make commitments to modify the site design.

It's that proximity to residential -- not to mention a YMCA and a DISD elementary school more or less directly behind the proposed Neighborhood Market -- that impacted staff's denial recommendation on the alcohol overlay.

From the briefing:

Surrounding land use tends to be retail oriented along the Buckner Boulevard corridor. The area transitions very quickly to residential zoning to the west/northwest/southwest, and includes a mix of residential and institutional uses, inclusive of the Southeast Branch YMCA (abutting the site's western property line) and John B. Hood Elementary School (southeast corner of Blossom Lane and Prichard Lane).

The request (introducing nonresidential zoning) represents an approximate 600 foot encroachment into the established residential area to the west. While there is no assurance the applicant will sell alcohol for off-premise consumption, the introduction of other retail uses, combined with the fact the current residential zoning does not possess either a D or D-1 Liquor Control Overlay, would afford the same opportunity to other development scenarios.

The applicant has made commitments to the community to address some of the impact of this request on the built environment. It is staff's opinion that a combination of the above referenced encroachment along with an inability to regulate alcohol for on or off-premise consumption, as currently provided for along Buckner Boulevard (D and D-1 Liquor Control Overlays) could have a negative impact on the residential community. Lastly, while the applicant's efforts to attempt to mitigate the impact of this nonresidential zoning is recognized, the following operational revisions have suggested by staff, but at this time, are not incorporated into the proposed development:

•hours of delivery;
•reconfigure access along Buckner Boulevard to provide for truck circulation that permits the loading area to be relocated to the northern façade; and,
•provide for right turn-in and left turn-out along Blossom Lane and only have access when across from non residential zoning.

As a result of this analysis, staff cannot support the request. As stated above, the applicant and staff have worked towards resolving as many items as possible, thus the attached 'applicant requested amending conditions' have been reviewed by the city attorney and are provided herein should CPC consider recommending approval of the request.

Messages have been left for Walmart and attorney Myron Dornic, who's repping the chain at CPC Thursday.

Incidentally, that Ledbetter Walmart Supercenter goes in front of the council tomorrow for its final OK.

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