New Walmart in in Central EP postponed

The City Planning Commission will hear the proposal again in two weeks.

Ashlie Rodriguez, Reporter
POSTED: 07:45 PM MDT Apr 18, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

The El Paso City Planning Commission voted to postpone a hearing on building a neighborhood-style Wal-Mart Thursday afternoon. 

The commission listened to presentations from the city which is advocating for the new store, but only if Walmart can meet the area's Smart Growth zoning features. If the store cannot, they will have to vote on rezoning the area around Montana Street and Chelsea Street, the current site of a Chico's Tacos and animal clinic. 

Right now the neighbor is zoned for light commercial activity because it's near schools and residential neighborhoods. The city would like to see a smaller Walmart, surrounded in landscaping to create a buffer zone between nearby residential homes. They also want a parking lot in the back of the store, and a design that promotes "walkability." This includes having multiple street entrances. 

But Walmart representatives told the commission they cannot have a parking lot behind the store or multiple entrances for functional and security purposes. The representatives told the commission they want to work toward a compromise, but cannot meet every standard. 

Walmart representatives also say the store will create jobs and help develop the area. But residents and small business owners against building a Walmart say it will increase traffic,  compete directly against nearby grocers, and threaten walking school children. 

The commission is set to discuss the issue in two weeks.