Zoning Board Rejects Appeal of Permit for Midtown Miami Walmart, Sides With Company

The board voted 6-4 in favor of Walmart during a 4-hour meeting Wednesday night

By Christina Hernandez
|  Thursday, Oct 3, 2013  |  Updated 2:11 AM EDT
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On Wednesday Miami Planning, Zoning, and Appeal Board members rejected an appeal opposing the permit the city approved for a Walmart to be built in Midtown. NBC 6's Christina Hernandez reports.

On Wednesday Miami Planning, Zoning, and Appeal Board members rejected an appeal opposing the permit the city approved for a Walmart to be built in Midtown. NBC 6's Christina Hernandez reports.

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It's been a fight for two years now. Still, there is no end in sight.

People came to Miami City Hall Wednesday night with their message written on hats and signs. "No Walmart."

The city of Miami has approved a permit for a Walmart to be built on 31st Street in Midtown.

A full room heard from some who want that decision to be appealed – but Planning, Zoning, and Appeal Board members decided to reject the appeal, voting 6-4 in favor of Walmart.

There was a lot of back and forth and with some interruptions. Most of the arguing was over whether or not the plans for the big box store follow city codes.

Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesperson for Walmart, said the plans are in compliance with the law and bringing a Walmart here will not only bring at least 300 jobs, but it's what people living nearby want.

"A lot of these arguments have no merit," Lopez said. "We received the approvals from the city that are necessary to proceed with the project."

Opponents disagreed and said city codes are not being met and the superstore will ruin the up-and-coming neighborhood.

"They have a goal to put in a massive Walmart on a relatively small lot," plantiff Peter Ehrlich said.

"I think the area is destined to be a pedestrian area," protester Dave Dobler said.

Tempers flared at the Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board meeting and they continue to flare online, and will for who knows how much longer.

More appeals will probably follow. The next meeting will be in November. When the Walmart will be built, or if it will, remains unknown.

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