Wal-Mart set to get Midtown permit
Written by Vanessa Zambrano on August 8, 2013
Wal-Mart’s project to open a store in Midtown is moving forward. The City of Miami expects to issue an architectural design permit to the megastore by the end of this week, said Francisco Garcia, city planning director.
The project had been rejected in February by the Urban Design Review Board, which serves as an advisory panel to the city’s planning director.
“We denied the project with a number of requested revisions and improvements,” said Dean Lewis, one of the review board’s members, “but the final approval would come from the planning director, hopefully with our suggested revisions.”
“Once we confirm that all those requirements are complied with we will issue” the permit, Mr. Garcia said.
Wal-Mart’s plan to open at 3055 N Miami Ave. has been met with opposition from residents, who have voiced concerns about the store’s lack of a blend with the character of the neighborhood.
“It’s a plan that would jam traffic all over the streets because it would bring in too many cars to the area. It would discourage pedestrians and cut Midtown off from Wynwood. It would flatten the area,” said Grant Stern, community activist and member of the Miami business community.
Mr. Stern also said that the plan was ignoring district regulations.
Wal-Mart’s attorney, Alfredo L. Gonzalez, had said that the store had been waiting for too long and needed to move forward but declined to comment at this time.
The chain store turned in a new set of revised plans, Mr. Garcia said, and if details comply with regulations he said he would issue the permit in the next few days.
The planning department issues such a permit on the grounds of the project meeting zoning, design and configuration standards. “It is design-wise a worthy development project,” the planning director said.
However, Wal-Mart would still need a building permit in order to start construction, he said.
If the building permit is approved, Mr. Garcia said, there is an appeal period during which anyone can object and appeal the decision.