Design issues delay new Henrico Walmart - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Design issues delay new Henrico Walmart

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Several lingering issues are delaying the proposed development of what's being called an "upscale" Walmart in Henrico's West End.

A hearing before the county Planning Commission scheduled for Wednesday morning was deferred until September 26, according to Director of Planning Joe Emerson.

Plans call for the store to go in the Reynolds Crossing office park, at Glenside Drive and Forest Avenue. The county believes the current plan doesn't quite live up to the idea of an upscale store, and skeptical neighbors are watching closely.

The new Walmart would contain 90,000 square feet; smaller than the typical store, but big enough to get the attention of neighbors like Erika Bryant.

"I do not want Walmart in our community. We don't need another Walmart," Bryant said in a June interview.

Erika, and others, went to a community meeting last month to get briefed on the plans, which now are coming under greater scrutiny.

New papers from the staff of Henrico's Planning Commission identify several concerns, including whether there would be enough screening between the future store and the surrounding neighborhoods. Also: whether Walmart will do enough to look upscale, as promised.

The county wants it to resemble the Shoppes at Westgate, in Short Pump, but the current design will need more windows and maybe a wrought iron fence, according to the papers.

The look of the future store has been a hot debate in this part of town since March, when neighbors suggested something other than a big box store for the space.

"[What we want] is going to be something different, something that brings something to the area, something that fits in the area," said Jeffry Burden in a March interview.

Henrico County planners say their concerns are "numerous". With Walmart now going back to the drawing board, it remains unclear when the plans will be formally reconsidered. Like previous hearing dates, the September 26 date is subject to change.

If and when the county's terms are satisfied, the new Walmart could open by 2013, employing about 250 people.

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