Plan commission denies Walmart request

Pictured is an architectural rendering of the front facade of the proposed Broadway Walmart store, submitted to the city on January 6, 2013. The rendering includes updated elements, such as glass paneling, compared to a Sept. 2013 design.
Pictured is an architectural rendering of the front facade of the proposed Broadway Walmart store, submitted to the city on January 6, 2013. The rendering includes updated elements, such as glass paneling, compared to a Sept. 2013 design.

GREEN BAY – Walmart’s plan to build a Supercenter store in Downtown Green Bay took a blow Monday night, but the retail giant’s proposal isn’t dead yet.

Those opposed to a Walmart store in Green Bay’s Broadway District sent a message to the city’s plan commission.

“And I cannot just ever imagine why there would be a Walmart down there, especially the size of the building,” said Troy Kapalczynski, of Green Bay, who echoed the opinions of many people who spoke at the meeting.

Plan commission members listened to more than three hours of testimony, most opposing Walmart’s plan to build a 154,000 square foot store.

The retailer requested the commission change the future use plan for the Broadway property it wants to build on.

“We think it’s right sized for this location in order to be successful,” said Debbie Tomczak, a land use attorney for Walmart.

The commission denied Walmart’s request, instead voting to classify the property as ‘downtown.’

The city council still needs to approve the plan commission’s vote. If it does, it will make it more difficult for Walmart to have the Broadway property rezoned. That needs to happen for Walmart’s current proposal to have any chance at becoming a reality.

“It’s not the right fit,” said Alderman Jerry Wiezbiskie, a member of the plan commission. “Actually we listened to the people. We heard them, we made the right decision.”

Despite the decision, Walmart isn’t giving up.

“We’re committed to a 150,000 square foot store,” said Lisa Nelson, a spokesperson for Walmart.

Walmart officials say they look forward to working with the city council to make the store happen.

As long as they keep trying, the retailer’s opponents say they’ll keep making sure their voices are heard.

“I guess we’ll just have to see what happens next with Walmart,” said Marta Mezo, the owner of Marza Luna on Broadway.

The city council is expected to vote on the plan commission’s recommendation next Tuesday.

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