Judge gives green light to controversial Edmond Walmart

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EDMOND, Okla. - A neighborhood market will soon make its way near an Edmond intersection, but it hasn't been without controversy.

The Edmond City Council said, 'no.'

The Edmond Planning Commission said, 'no.'

Now, a district judge has said, 'yes.'

“I just don’t know what’s going on. If city council had struck it down repeatedly, what’s happening?” said Jessica Preston-Peskin, an Asheford Oaks resident .

Asheford Oaks is just one of the surrounding neighborhoods that has hired an attorney to help fight against the Walmart Neighborhood Market moving in.

Residents say they know the northwest corner of Covell and Coltrane is zoned commercial, but they don’t feel the plan for a Walmart Neighborhood Market fits in with the community.

They have safety concerns about a large grocery store by two lane roads, and they’re concerned there won’t be enough of a buffer between their homes and the store.

They’ve been fighting against the plan for two years now.

After the council and planning commission voted no on the plans, the landowners, Covell Creek, LLC, sued the City of Edmond in district court and won.

“I mean, I think that’s what you have city council for is to weigh the pros and cons and make decisions on behalf of the citizens. And to have it overruled by a court, are we going to have all zoning issues decided by a court?” said Edmond Ward 4 Councilman Nick Massey.

“This is just a site plan issue. That being said, does the site plan conform to our rules and regulations in the City of Edmond? And it does,” said David Box, the attorney representing the landowners.

He says the corner was zoned commercial more than two decades ago and that his client’s plan conforms to all the specifications the city made for this plot of land.

“A site plan is in place to protect citizens, to make sure that whatever any developer is doing is consistent with the rules and regulations as outlined by the city. And we’ve met all the rules and regulations as outlined by the city,” said Box.

In the judge’s opinion, he said the city’s decision to deny the plan “based upon broad standards of public health, safety and welfare was arbitrary and unreasonable.”

He found the plan did meet all the requirements set forth by the city and said the Walmart should be able to build there.

Neighbors, though, say they are not giving up the fight.

They’re hoping the city appeals the judge’s decision.

“I think if they choose not to fight it, then any developer from here down the road will realize the city will just not fight and PUD’s no longer mean anything and city council decisions no longer mean anything,” said Asheforde Oaks resident Barry Black.

The City of Edmond has 30 days from the judge’s Nov. 3 decision to appeal it.

The city attorney says he will meet with city council members to come up with a plan.

The city council will likely vote whether or not to appeal at a meeting later this month.

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