POQUOSON, Va. (WAVY) — Plans to build a Walmart grocery store in Poquoson changed and residents are even more fired up.
WAVY.com first reported on the plans for a Walmart Neighborhood Market last week. If you travel through the small city, you will find signs and banners that read “No Walmart” everywhere.
An update was posted on the city’s website on Thursday. The update says the developer, Commercial Real Estate Services (CRES), is considering moving forward with the project by right. “By right ” means the Virginia Beach developer could build a grocery store because that is already permitted on the land.
“The citizens of Poquoson are pretty clear, they don’t want this,” said George Ford, who is chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Poquoson group.
Ford said the petition they have been circulating has around 2,500 signatures of people against bringing a Walmart to Poquoson.
In past interviews, residents have said they don’t need a Walmart Neighborhood Market because the small city doesn’t need another grocery store.
If approved, this project would be located on Victory Boulevard across from City Hall Avenue. The city’s Community Development Director, Debbie Vest. said the developer withdrew three Re-Zoning and Conditional Use Permit applications Thursday. Vest explained CRES would not be allowed to build a gas station, as was originally planned. A gas station would require a conditional use permit. CRES could still build a grocery store, because it is already permitted on the land by right.
By right means the application would no longer require any input from the planning commission, city council, or a public hearing.
“Doing it this way does not give the voters and the taxpayers of Poquoson a voice at all,” said Ford. “It bypasses the zoning. It bypasses city council.”
Vest said city officials don’t know what CRES plans to do because a plan has not been formally submitted. When plans are submitted, Vest said the developer will have to provide a site plan that meets the city’s standards. The project will also hve to be reviewed and approved by Poquoson’s Arcitectural Review Board.
Vest also encourages residents to come forward during the “Audience for Visitors” – or public comment section – of Monday’s city council meeting.
“I think they’re in for a big surprise,” said Ford. “People of Poquoson are very fired up, and they want to come in, and they want the city leaders to hear what we have to say.”
The city council meeting will be held on Monday September 28, 2015 ar 7 p.m.