Tempe council frowns on Supercenter location - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Tempe council frowns on Supercenter location

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Posted: Friday, June 29, 2007 7:06 am | Updated: 7:12 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Tempe’s top elected officials told Wal-Mart it’s not welcome at the spot the retail giant wants to open a Supercenter.

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The City Council unanimously agreed Thursday that Wal-Mart isn’t a good fit in a Mervyn’s building that it recently bought at Rural Road and Southern Avenue.

But the city can’t stop Wal-Mart — and the company told the city it’s moving ahead despite Tempe’s objections.

The vote against Wal-Mart was a resolution that carries no legal weight. Wal-Mart can legally go into the old Mervyn’s store because the site is already zoned for retail. Cities have the authority to establish zoning — but private property rights prevent them from deciding one company can use that zoning while another business cannot.

Wal-Mart announced its Supercenter plans in April and quickly triggered a flood of complaints to City Hall from the surrounding neighborhood. Homeowners objected to having a 24-hour store so close to homes and a library and museum across the street.

Wal-Mart plans to move in without expanding the 86,000-square-foot store, though Supercenters can be larger than 200,000 square feet. Wal-Mart has said neighbors wouldn’t object to the store if they realized it would be much smaller than a typical Supercenter and draw far fewer customers.

The company plans to open the store next summer.

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