Sarasota News Leader

02/15/2013

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WHO ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? The new Walmart would be constructed in a shopping center where Publix once stood on Ringling Boulevard. Photo by Norman Schimmel WALMART APPEAL TO BE A BATTLE OF THE PLANNERS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Over the weekend, diligent Sarasota City commissioners will be sorting through more than 300 pages of materials concerning a neighborhood appeal of the Planning Board���s approval of a new Walmart store on Charles Ringling Boulevard. The issue will be presented all over again, from the top. Fundamentally, the decision will hinge on differing interpretations of the term ���department store.��� City planners say the Walmart is not a department store. But a recently retired senior city planner is on the neighborhood���s side, and he says it is. Neighborhood and Development Services Department, will defend the staff recommendation and Planning Board decision. He will be opposed by his former No. 2, Deputy Director Mike Taylor. WHAT IS A DEPARTMENT STORE? Taylor quotes in his 42-page report the definition of a department store in the city code: ���a store of 15,000 or more square feet of gross floor area selling a wide variety of retail goods arranged in general departments.��� And he further notes a ���department store structure��� is The face-off is set for Tuesday evening, Feb. not permitted in a CSC-N zone (neighborhood 19, at City Hall. Tim Litchett, director of the commercial shopping center).

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