There's no blue light special for this.
The City of Miami's advisory Urban Development Review Board rejected Walmart's latest plans for a 156,000-square-foot store in Midtown Miami with a 6-0 vote -- and some strong words.
"I feel like a violin and I’m being played," said panel member and architect-developer Willy Bermello, ripping WalMart for repeatedly trying to "get away with" shirking the requirements of the Midtown design code, according to the Miami Herald.
Representatives of the super chain denied that. But the vote marked the second time Walmart's plans have been unanimously nixed by zoning officials for not complying with the Midtown code, in which standards for development, construction, and roadways are mandated to "generate a lively pedestrian street life."
In July, the Planning and Zoning Appeals Board denied a zoning amendment request that would have permitted Walmart to build loading docks on busy Miami Avenue instead of a side street as required.
After pulling its previous request, Walmart added street-level shops to its renderings for the lot between 29th and 31st Streets. But neighborhood advocates and the UDRB still found the plans non-conformant. The major sticking point Wednesday surrounded Walmart's garage, which above the first floor is neither wrapped in commercial or retail space nor alternately set back as code requires.
The Herald reports that Walmart declined an opportunity to rework its plans and have a second hearing with the UDRB, which functions as an advisory panel to the city planning director. The planning director could choose to issue Walmart a special permit; any appeal would be heard by the Planning and Zoning Appeals Board that rejected the retailer's plans in July.
Advocates for Midtown's design code cheered Wednesday's decision.
"We think that this is a very important step towards forcing Walmart to right sizing their plan if they're interested in entering the Midtown Miami area," Grant Stern, who has blogged about the issue at The Huffington Post, told Local 10.
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