(KCPW News) A years-long battle over the big box is now over on Salt Lake City’s east side – and it means Walmart will still be moving into the neighborhood, but not with a new store. In a six-to-one vote last night the Salt Lake City Council rejected a request by the company to rezone its property on 2700 East Parleys Way, which would have enabled it to tear down the existing building. Councilman Soren Simonsen, who cast one of the many “no” votes, says his opposition is nothing new.
“I have been through two campaigns where I was pretty open about my opposition to this specific proposal,” he tells KCPW. “So, I just don’t think that big boxes are a part of how you create vibrant neighborhoods and this has no place here.”
Carlton Christensen, the only councilmember to vote “yes” on the re-zone, says he thought the neighborhood would have been better off with a new building.
He notes Walmart would have had to install new drains, which he says could prevent problems for nearby residents.
“It came down to: did I feel the neighborhood would be better off with a new store, and a new store that would be built under conditions that the development agreement would be placed upon them?” says Christensen. “The only way to effectively accomplish that was through the rezoning process.”
Walmart released a statement expressing disappointment in the council’s decision, saying it represents the “status quo.” It says the retail giant will still open a re-modeled, 120,000 square-foot Supercenter on the property next summer.