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.
“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.
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.