Sarasota City commissioners voted 4-1 Monday to hold an appeal hearing against a Ringling Boulevard Walmart Supercenter.
The proposed Walmart became the fourth construction project in the city to face an appeal over the past five years. All three previous appeals were denied by the City Commission.
Those in support of the appeal, however, believe there are grounds for an appeal of the proposed 97,000 square-foot Walmart.
“When a plan doesn’t conform to the code, serious questions need to be addressed,” said Jerry Sparkman, a local architect who was named on the appeal filed against the Planning Board’s 3-2 approval of the Walmart.
The earliest a hearing can be held is Feb. 4.
Opponents of the Walmart say it does not fit the city’s zoning code for Commercial Shopping Center Neighborhood (CSC-N).
The Anti-SRQ Walmart Direct Action Planning Committee tarred-and-feathered a Wal-Mart smiley face Monday, prior to the commission meeting at City Hall. Several residents who live near the proposed supercenter attended the demonstration.
In other items, commissioners:
• Forwarded a drafted Laurel Park development buffer zone to the Planning Board for a vote.
The buffer, if approved, would change the development process for projects planned within 100 feet of the downtown neighborhood. The latest version would require developers to hold two public community workshops if they apply for a building permit. Currently, city staff reviews and approves developments in the Downtown Edge area surrounding Laurel Park that meet the zoning code — without a public hearing.
The buffer would also make it easier for residents to appeal nearby developments approved by the city. It would widen the pool of residents who are allowed to file an appeal.
• Approved an adjustment allowing P.F. Chang’s to build larger signs at the 6,900-square-foot restaurant under construction on U.S. 41.