by Mark Carter
Posted 8/14/2013 11:02 am
Updated 8 months ago
Russellville voters on Tuesday upheld a zoning ordinance that will enable Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville to build a Neighborhood Market on the city's growing west side.
With about 59 percent of the vote, voters approved a zoning ordinance approved by the city council in April that rezoned a 9-acre property at West Main and Vancouver streets to accommodate Wal-Mart's plans.
An opposition group forced Tuesday's referendum by collecting more than 800 signatures.
According to the Courier newspaper in Russellville, just under 3,000 voters turned out, more than half of them voting early.
The project was considered controversial because of its proximity to residential neighborhoods. The proposed Neighborhood Market would sit on the undeveloped site of a former family farm. Wal-Mart is under contract to purchase that tract and two properties that front Main Street.
Little Rock attorney Stephen Giles, who handles land use cases for the Bentonville retailer, told Arkansas Business the company won't apply for construction permits until all legal appeal periods have expired.
The Russellville city council meets Thursday and is expected to approve the third and final reading of an ordinance closing one-block sections of Tulsa and Utah streets that extend onto the property under contract to Wal-Mart.