Neighbors oppose Walmart, Wawa rezoning on Dale Mabry

Published Oct. 13, 2012

CARROLLWOOD — Neighbors near a proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market and Wawa convenience store are uniting to fight a rezoning request that could clear the way for development.

After a hearing Monday, a zoning master is expected to recommend approval or denial of the rezoning to county commissioners, who will then decide the matter Dec. 11.

"If anyone wants to submit evidence, Monday is the time to do it," said Adam Gormley, a managing attorney for the county's land use division. For the most part, no new evidence can be admitted after that point, he said.

Recently, neighbors have waved signs three mornings a week at N Dale Mabry Highway and Floyd Road, where the 41,000-square-foot Walmart and 6,000-square-foot Wawa with gas pumps are planned.

Some residents say they've received phone surveys gauging their interest in the development. Rita Perella, who lives about a mile from the site, said she got a call this past week. The caller asked if she was happy with her grocery and pharmacy options in her area, naming a few, and then asked: "How would you like to save 10 percent on your groceries?"

At that point, Perella asked if the call was about the proposed Walmart and told the woman she is completely opposed because of the location.

"We have plenty of groceries and gas stations and really have no need for any more," she said.

She counts two Walmart Supercenters within 2 miles of her house and five other supermarkets.

Walmart officials could not be reached for comment.

Leah Wooten, an organizing member of the 813CARe team opposing the rezoning, said neighbors are concerned about the size and intensity of the proposal, not that it's Walmart. It could be any big-box store, she said. She calls Floyd Road a two-lane residential street with no room to buffer homes.

"They've picked the wrong spot," said Wooten, who lives in a neighborhood behind the site.

She said the 10-acre plot where a nursery sat for many years has 12 grand oaks, which she fears will not be protected. She also worries that the increased asphalt will cause flooding in Sweetwater Creek, which backs the property.

She suggests developers move into the space formerly operated by a now-closed Borders, which is north of the proposed site on Dale Mabry, but she suspects Walmart wants the site because it's between two Publix groceries.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at