Thursday, August 1, 2013
DALLAS -- After nearly a year of fighting through two appeals to expand its Dallas location, Walmart has submitted plans that are significantly scaled back from what was expected.The city received the plans in July, which consist of a mostly interior remodel, with only a small amount of square footage added in the back of the store and minor changes to the parking lot.City officials were surprised by this latest twist in the Walmart saga, especially after city staff twice went to bat helping defend the January 2012 Dallas Planning Commission approval of Walmart's expansion plans against appeals."They had approval for a footprint enlargement and (now) the footprint is increasing just to add some office space in the back," City Manager Ron Foggin said Monday after a Dallas City Council meeting where a brief report on the plans was given. "It barely qualifies for a building permit."Walmart submitted plans in September 2011 for an 18,317-square-foot expansion. The initial plans would have entailed adding a full-service grocery section, a facade makeover, an interior remodel, a reconfiguration of the store's parking lot, and closing its oil change and tire service center.Those plans were appealed twice, once to the city council in March 2012 and again to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) in June 2012. LUBA upheld approval of plans and the group opposing expansion declined to appeal it further. LUBA issued its decision nearly a year ago.Walmart's new plans for the store forgo most of the 18,317-square-foot expansion and instead call for interior reconfiguration and expansion of the grocery section.Foggin said Walmart didn't offer an explanation to the city for the change of plans.Attempts to reach Walmart for comment Tuesday morning before press time were unsuccessful."I personally think it's a mistake, but I don't speak for the shareholders of Walmart," Foggin said.