Residents turn out to protest Wal-Mart's plans to build McCandless superstore

More than 100 residents turned out for a zoning board meeting Monday night, protesting plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Blazier Drive.

The Zoning and Finance Committee met to review the land development and subdivision application for a proposed 150,000-square-foot Walmart store that would be built just off McKnight Road.

“I read that Wal-Mart has publicly stated they will not move into a community where they are not welcome,” a resident who lives on Powers Drive told the board. “What will it take for us to convince you that Wal-Mart does not belong in our neighborhood?”

McCandless residents concerned about new Walmart

McCandless residents concerned about new Walmart

The exchanges Monday night between some residents and McCandless officials became so heated that board members attempted to admonish them, asking those present to remain quiet.

Residents are concerned about the increased traffic, noise, flooding, and light pollution that they say the supercenter could bring to the neighborhood.

Walmart representatives presented the retail giant‘‍s application during the meeting.

If the plans are approved and the sale of the property goes through, all three buildings currently on the site – Trader Horn, Brewery Outlet and a former Bally’s -- would be demolished, officials said.

The McCandless Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan earlier this month. McCandless Council is scheduled to vote on the plan Monday night.

Plans call for the supercenter to include a grocery store with fresh produce and dairy, a bakery and a deli, besides general merchandise and apparel, said Bill Wertz, spokesman for Arkansas-based Wal-Mart.

He said the store would employ about 300 people, most of whom would have full-time jobs.

Mr. Cordek said the development would have to adhere to conditions involving traffic improvements, and meet requirements and recommendations from township engineers. "In addition to this, there were other suggestions that were made and accepted by the developer, as well as some architectural suggestions recommended by the staff and planning commission, which are being looked at by the Wal-Mart architect," Mr. Cordek added.

"This is a large-scale building, which would generate a significant amount of traffic," land use administrator Bruce G. Betty said, noting that the zoning of the site permits large-scale retail. He added that extensive traffic studies have been undertaken and a set of onsite improvements have been proposed by Walmart to mitigate the impact of the additional traffic.

"Our engineers have reviewed those changes and concurred, as well as addressing some deficiencies in lane capacity on state roads that PennDOT is reviewing."

Freelance reporter Jill Cueni-Cohen contributed. Shellie Petri Budzeak, freelance writer:

First Published July 22, 2014 12:00 AM

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