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Midtown Miami WalMart: City Manager To Pull Zoning Amendment Off Commission Agenda

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You can put down your "Stop Midtown WalMart" picketing signs…for now.

The City of Miami will pull a zoning amendment from its Thursday agenda that would permit a proposed WalMart better access to get its large trucks into and out of Midtown, a neighborhood that borders Miami's Wynwood Arts District and the Design District.

Lynn Westall, Senior Assistant to the City Manager, confirmed that the city manager will withdraw, not just defer, the zoning amendment off the agenda.

Last week, the city’s Planning and Zoning Appeals Board unanimously rejected the controversial proposal that would allow the chain store to build loading docks on busy North Miami Avenue.

The issue was to come before the City of Miami commissioners on Thursday, which would be the last chance for the public to voice their opinion about the megastore's plans if the commission approved the amendment.

"Like we've been saying, if WalMart really wants to come in by right, there's going to be another round of fighting," said vocal anti-WalMart opponent and businessman Grant Stern, who called the movement against WalMart a mark of the city's maturity.

"Under the terms they wanted to come in, we're really glad the city took notice of the public's opinion...I really can't believe WalMart had the audacity to try and redesign Midtown through the Mayor's office."

The world's largest retailer said in a statement that it hasn't abandoned its plans to move into Midtown.

"We believe that a Walmart in Midtown could be part of the solution for folks who need a job or want access to more affordable options, regardless of where the service entrance is," said WalMart's director of community affairs, Steven Restivo. "We intend to submit our application to the city while continuing our dialogue with the community. We look forward to opening a hiring center next year and serving customers by 2014."

This is a developing story.

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