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Walmart plans get more time to change before Green Bay council vote

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Pictured is an architectural rendering of the front facade of the proposed Broadway Walmart store, submitted to the city on January 6, 2013. (Photo from Walmart)
Pictured is an architectural rendering of the front facade of the proposed Broadway Walmart store, submitted to the city on January 6, 2013. (Photo from Walmart)

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay City Council won't get to decide on changes approved this week to the site of a proposed Walmart store right away.

The city's Plan Commission approved changing the classification of the site in the Broadway District where Walmart wants to build a 150,000 square foot store to "downtown" from general industrial. The retail giant was seeking a change to commercial in order to fit their design.

City planner Nic Sporacio says there are some legal hoops to jump through with this resolution.

"We have to do a public notice that's 30 days prior to the council meeting," says Sporacio. "The council also has to hold a public hearing."

Sporacio says they're following a statutory process, as well as public participation steps that are used by the city of Green Bay.

The "downtown" classification aims to keep the future land use in the 400-600 blocks of N. Broadway Street to a medium-box, or between 25,000 and 70,000 square feet. It also allows for mixed-use development, rather than just one particular usage.

That's another month for this issue to be hanging around town. While Walmart spokesperson Lisa Nelson said Monday night they were sticking with their submitted design, Sporacio says he's willing to meet.

"If they're willing to look at a mixed-use, multi-story or a smaller footprint to the building, something that's more architecturally detailed to fit in with Broadway, that door is still open," Sporacio said.

City council members do have options available to them when they make their decision March 4. That includes ignoring the recommendation, supporting it, or sending it back to the Plan Commission with some guidance as to how they want that parcel to be classified.

For Sporacio, despite not putting any public comment into their recommendation, he feels the public's support is on their side.

"It doesn't always work out that way," says Sporacio. "But as we did hear the comments from the community that weighed in, really confirmed in our minds the long-term potential for that site should outweigh the short-term issues."

One of those issues is $3 million the city of Green Bay would be on the hook for, should the property's ownership be taken in if and when On Broadway, Inc. loses it later this year.

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