Sarasota News Leader

10/5/12

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SAILING THROUGH Walmart plans to open its newest Sarasota store in the downtown shopping center where a Publix once stood. Photo courtesy Walmart RINGLING WALMART PLAN CLEARS DRC; NEXT UP — THE PLANNING BOARD By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Plans for a Walmart supercenter on Charles Ringling Boulevard passed their last bureau- cratic hurdle on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The City of Sarasota's Development Review Committee cleared the project for Nov. 14 re- view by the city's Planning Board. The DRC is composed of senior officials from several city departments and the county fire marshal. These people ensure all of the many regulations and restrictions have been com- plied with before they give their approval for a development to enter the policy process. In the case of Walmart, the property proposed for the store is already the site of a shopping center – the city's first – so no rezoning is re- quired. No special exception or variance has been requested, so there is no required neigh- borhood meeting. However, Walmart repre- sentatives held a voluntary public meeting Aug. 15. "We want to be good neighbors and that's why we're here," said Michelle Belaire, a Walmart PR veteran from Miami, during that neighborhood meeting. The company plans to demolish the existing strip mall and parking lot at the intersection of Ringling and Lime and build a 98,000-square- foot general retail center with a grocery store. Doors should open in 2014 and then stay open 24/7/365.

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