Wal-Mart (WMT) Expansion Could be Denied By Prince George's County Planning Department

The Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) located at the Woodyard Crossing (formerly Clinton Plaza) Shopping Center in Clinton, Maryland, could see its expansion plans come to a halt if the Prince George's  planning department recommendation of disapproval are accepted by the planning board.

Wal-Mart wants to turn its existing 134,241 square-foot store into a 171,634 square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter that would include a grocery section, general merchandise, and a garden center.

The development must adhere to special exception requirements due to the grocery component exceeding 10 percent in area as written in the zoning ordinance.

The biggest road block to the expansion is a setback variance. Wal-Mart believes meeting zoning requirements would lead to “peculiar and unusual practical difficulties” but the planning staff disagrees and duly noted, “Staff finds it hard to imagine that there is no alternative design for the site that would make the need for this variance go away. It may result in a smaller store or may require the applicant to do some site-specific design, rather than applying their stock design to the property. Requiring the applicant to do so does not reach the level of peculiar of unusual difficulty in staff’s opinion.”

Behind the shopping center and Wal-Mart property are single-family detached homes separated a forest buffer and wood fence.

The planning staff also found the details on enhancements for sidewalks, paving, landscaping, planters, benches and special light fixtures to be lacking in Wal-Mart's submitted plans.

With two out of three requirements not met according to planning staff, the July 16th meeting could mean going back to the drawing board instead of planning board approval for the Wal-Mart expansion.

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