Wal-Mart moved a little closer this week to building a second store in Shawnee.
The Shawnee Planning Commission on Monday approved revised site plans for a 147,848-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter near the southeast corner of Johnson Drive and Kansas 7.
The plans are scaled down from an earlier proposal for a 195,906-square-foot store at the same location. A 2007 lawsuit, along with state highway improvements and an economic downturn, delayed the project for years, according to city staff.
Mark Bryant, a Kansas City attorney, represented Wal-Mart at the meeting. He said Wal-Mart agreed to the city’s plan revisions and looked forward to breaking ground on the store.
“This has been a long process,” Bryant said.
The 2007 lawsuit against the city, filed by residents of the nearby Grey Oaks neighborhood, challenged the planning commission’s application of zoning ordinances at the building site and sought to block the project. The city settled the suit.
While the size of the proposed store and its parking spaces have shrunk, the revised plan is much the same as the one approved in 2007, according to city staff.
No residents spoke on Monday night, but three people who live in Grey Oaks submitted written opinions to the planning commission, all of them opposed to new store. They wrote that it was too big a commercial development to sit so closely to a residential area, and detailed concerns about increased traffic and light pollution.
“It is too large, it does not reflect the way people shop, and it is not sustainable in the marketplace,” wrote Grey Oaks resident Catherine Wood.
Bryant said Wal-Mart had researched the area and decided it would support the store.
“Wal-Mart has 5,000 stores in the U.S.,” Bryant said. “It has another 5,000 stores in the world. Before it decides to build a store, it does study the demographics.”
Bill Boyden, an associate with BRR Architecture in Kansas City, one of the firms contracted by Wal-Mart for the project, said the timeline for construction was not yet clear. He said Wal-Mart hoped to break ground this fall and open the store one year later.
“They’ve paid us our fee, and they don’t usually do that unless they’re serious,” Boyden said.