Miami-Dade County

Midtown Walmart back on track; another appeal possible

SUPERSTORE: The 203,000-square-foot Walmart store is planned for North Miami Avenue in Midtown Miami.
SUPERSTORE: The 203,000-square-foot Walmart store is planned for North Miami Avenue in Midtown Miami.

Miami commissioners on Thursday once again approved plans for a 203,000-square-foot Walmart superstore in Midtown, likely insuring more legal action from a group of residents opposed to the retailer’s presence in the neighborhood.

Last year, commissioners rejected an appeal after granting Walmart’s class II special permit for their store on North Miami Avenue. Residents sued, arguing that the city had granted major variances through an improper process. A three-judge panel ruled last month that the city had granted five loading berths when only three were allowed, and sent the issue back to the city.

Paul Savage, attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that meant Walmart should apply for its permit from scratch. But City Attorney Victoria Mendez said the correct recourse was to re-hear the appeal and correct the number of loading berths. Commissioners sided with their attorneys and with Walmart, which resubmitted plans Saturday with three loading berths and two storage areas.

Savage said his clients may appeal again back to the same judicial panel.

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