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Walmart will build an exurban supercenter at the intersection of 18th Street, Dixie Highway, and Broadway. Last week, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens dismissed a lawsuit challenging the rezoning for the project. The suit had been brought by NPP Kentuckiana, OPEN Louisville, West Louisville Talks, Women In Transition, and various Russell neighborhood residents, according to Sheldon Shafer in the Courier-Journal.

Still, Walmart won’t begin construction just yet. Shafer reported that the mega-retailer is waiting for the end of all litigation to begin, but also that the project is very much alive. With the losing side considering an appeal, that end of litigation could still be months away.

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“Our position is that Wal-Mart should follow the requirements of the Louisville Metro Land Development Code, which require a substantial portion of the Broadway frontage to be developed in buildings rather than (as a) parking lot,” the dissenting groups told Shafer. “A small change to the development plan showing some outlots for future development on Broadway would meet the code and produce an urban streetscape on Broadway which the code requires.”

The groups also alleged that the Planning Commission did not meet state diversity requirements, making their decision on the Walmart case illegal.

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The $30 million Walmart, located just 1.6 miles from City Hall in the California neighborhood, would be set back some 400 feet from Broadway, which is a violation of Louisville’s Land Development Codes. Various waivers and variances to the code were awarded to the project by the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BOZA).

Mayor Greg Fischer, a staunch supporter of the project, said in a statement upon the recent dismissal: “I am pleased with the judge’s ruling, which allows this long-awaited project to move forward, bringing 300 new jobs and new retail opportunities to the citizens of west Louisville. I look forward to joining Walmart leaders in breaking ground as soon as possible on this important project.” DIstrict 4 Councilman David Tandy expressed similar “excitement” at the ruling.

We previously covered the West End Walmart story in depth here. Architects, historians, and community members weighed in during the fraught approval process earlier this year. Architect Steven Ward lamented the erosion of the city’s Cornerstone 2020 code meant to uphold high quality development, historian Daniel Vivian showed how the Walmart only presents short-term gains for the West End, and a group of residents laid out a case for better urban design.

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

3 COMMENTS

  1. Help me understand the hidden agenda….
    NPP, Open Louisville, etc. seem to stall or hold up projects within the city and discourage progress. After looking into issues, I thought it was Walmart, but no complaints were made on other projects Walmart is moving forward with around the city, just this one in the West End. Waivers and variances are allowed by the Land Code. The same waivers and variances submitted and approved for the YMCA, Foodport, Omni, and other projects weekly, these approvals are nothing new or illegal. They all even reference the same cornerstone 2020 flexibility statement to promote economic growth as justification for their waivers. The 400 feet, after looking on google, bing maps and the TARC site, there is a bus stop at 18th and Anderson. Looking at the picture above, common sense will tell you the building will not fit on Broadway and there is something else being built later on the corner. Even the amount of parking is allowed within the code, but someone says it’s too much. Over 4,000 signatures of support said the community wants to move forward and create jobs, likely that would have been available by now if building was started when the suit was filed. There comes a point when we need to stop being selfish and do whats best for the community. The opposing groups need to fund raise and contribute or invest in the changes they want. They don’t seem to have issues with the saturation of Family Dollar and Dollar General’s that have started selling alcohol. There are almost as many of these stars and liquor stores. “Our position” is continuing to hold our city back, discouraging new projects and driving business outside the city, county and state. The real story should by, “How the Land Code has driven business away”. This has created the growth in surrounding counties and southern Indiana, ending in lost economic development for Louisville. We are falling behind because we are our worst enemy. Think about, the surrounding cities (St. Louis, Nashville, Cincy, Indy) all have pro teams, better amenities and can support growth while Louisville fights itself, in the valley at the bottom of the bowl. What is the intent? Let’s move on.

  2. NPP is dedicated to obstructing projects. It’s very obvious that they have a hidden agenda that they are using preservation as a front for. They are obstructionists and we need someone to oppose them.

  3. “The groups also alleged that the Planning Commission did not meet state diversity requirements, making their decision on the Walmart case illegal.”

    If this is true, doesn’t this mean that all the decisions made by this Planning Commission would be illegal as well? I am sure that the projects they made decisions on are in progress or have been completed.

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