Wal-Mart grocery stores get OK’d for Warner Robins

mstucka@macon.comJune 27, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- A city official said he’s giving the green light for Wal-Mart to build two of its Neighborhood Market grocery stores in the city.

The Planning & Zoning Commission authorized the city’s building official, Bill Mulkey, to negotiate a dispute over how many parking spaces the stores would need. The city required 10 parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of store. An attorney and an engineer for Wal-Mart said a more typical requirement is four parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of store.

Mulkey told The Telegraph that the city’s standards were out of date, and the ratio of four spaces to 1,000 square feet matched most of the communities he checked with. He said he will authorize that for the grocery stores, and the revised number will be included in a set of proposed changes to the city’s zoning regulations.

“We just got in line with other cities and municipalities to match their ratio,” he said.

The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market stores have a more limited selection than the normal Wal-Mart superstores. They’re essentially grocery stores of about 40,000 square feet, with a drive-thru pharmacy and gas pumps. Wal-Mart representatives compared them to a Kroger store.

One such Wal-Mart is being proposed for the corner of North Houston Road and Green Street, in what was The Family Mart grocery store. Another store would be built on a clean site on Russell Parkway close to Lake Joy Road and adjacent to a CVS pharmacy.

Mulkey said the parking regulations that were in dispute were associated with standalone grocery stores. He could not recall any such standalone stores being built in his 35 years with the city. Other grocery stores have been built, but as part of a shopping center, he said.

Wal-Mart officials did not return messages Friday seeking comment about when the stores would be built.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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