The Walmart discussion should start at 1:00 pm. You can find the details that will be discussed in today's meeting here.
12:59 PM Most of board in their seats.
1:04 PM - Hearing starting.
1:08 PM - swearing in process for all of those who wish to speak.
1:09 PM Joe Reverman, Case Manager speaking, discussing the particulars of Walmart's request, providing history and displaying maps.
1:14 PM Walmart will provide up to $50,000 to provide a new traffic signal with the changes that will be made to accomodate the new construction.
1:16 PM Reverman now answering questions from the Zoning board. Current question asks about pedestrian issues.
1:18 PM Official documentation of the community signatures (up to 4,300) supporting the Walmart project.
1:19 PM John Gant called to speak. Gant is the Director for Economic Development for Louisville government.
1:21 PM Gant making the point that Walmart is the best, and has been the only, anchor business that can create and encourage further development in West Louisville. Gant notes that the property has sat idle for 13 years, and there are no other business that has proposed development.
1:23 PM - Deborah Bilitski of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, is speaking for and representing Walmart. Bilitski continues to assert that Walmart has done what they could to be more amenable, describing the two-year negotiating process, and now (1:28 PM) describing the aesthetic changes that Walmart has been willing to make with design.
1:30 PM - (The site) "The site is vacant, its blighted, and the development will be an improvement to the area."
1:33 PM - Bilitski is addressing the pedestrian access issues - mentioning accommodations that will be made on W.J. Hodge St (21st) as well as 20th Street.
1:39 PM - Walmart was "not comfortable" with the urban design proposed ideas, as that would have significantly driven up operational costs. In concern that there would not be street-front business, Walmart is making an accommodation by improving the landscaping.
1:47 PM - Kevin Thompson of Walmart speaking to the board.
1:49 PM - Bilitski has returned to speak.
1:51 PM - Richard Wimsitt of Workplace Strategies for Brown-Forman speaking.
1:53 PM - DeVone Holt speaking before the board. Making the community case. West Louisville has operated at "a competitive disadvantage."
1:56 PM - Holt: The 300 jobs are "opportunities, entry points" for West Louisville residents.
1:58 PM - Milton Seymore speaking. Imploring the board.
2:00 PM - Rev. Jerry Stephenson, Midwest Church of Christ, speaking. Considers Walmart as a potential "anchor," a developmental hub for West Louisville. Mentions that many churches have made investment in West Louisville.
2:05 PM - David Tomes, land developer, speaking. Providing examples and making a case for the development of urban areas. (2:18 PM) Showing parking examples similar to the Walmart project allowed.
As it is, it looks like the pro-speakers are going over their 60 minutes of time. Mr. Tomes alone has taken 15 minutes and running.
2:21 PM - The chair has let Mr. Tomes know that they only have 5 minutes left. Mentioning that Walmart is taking a "substantial risk." (Hmmm...)
2:23 PM - The venerable Rev. Charles Elliott has come to speak.
2:27 PM - James (Rick) Howland speaking to the board. Speaking as an advocate for West Louisville.
2:31 PM - Roy Streeter speaking to the group.
I will say this: It would behoove all of us to have a greater awareness of civics, development, as well as the insight and savvy to look ahead and to think about long-term development. The beseeching and what I see as begging is more than a little disconcerting.
2:36 PM - Elizabeth House, Toni Rodriguez, upcoming speakers...Chair making a call for other in-favor speakers to come forward and speak...
2:37 PM - Karen King, community resident, coming forward to speak. She is a Walmart employee and person of interest.
Walmart has very, very good for Ms. King, according to Ms. King.
2:41 PM - Ruben Pulliam of Justice Resource Center speaking to BOZA.
The level of begging, of beseeching...it is making me uncomfortable.
2:44 PM - Bilitski is back taking questions from the zoning board members. One designer, Elizabeth Hines, coming to speak on details of the design.
2:52 PM - Mr. Tomes answering board questions. Mentioned the South Side Chicago project, received $45 million of loans, $20 million of tax credits. Tomes still mentioning that Walmart is taking a considerable risk.
3:05 PM - Toni Rodriguez of Walmart willing to work with TARC to make accommodations to allow buses to come to the storefront doors if that would be better.
3:11 PM - Counter-testimony is starting now. Attorney Steve Porter has questions for Mr. Gant. Question regarding wages, but emphasizing what actual impact of salaries would be.
3:15 PM - Taking a 10-minute break, then will allow opposition statements.
3:29 PM - Restarting the session.
3:30 PM - The opposition, starting with Steve Porter, have up to 87 minutes to espouse their position.
3:34 PM - Mr. Porter makes very clear, that several arguments that have been made about their position (location of parking lot, etc.) is not the argument of the people that they represent.
3:43 PM - Porter lays out the case and mentions that 77 of the 88 buildings surrounding the Broadway site are in urban code compliance around the issue of setback (from the street). None of the noncompliant buildings are more than 80 feet back. Walmart's request is to be 394 feet back from the street.
4:00 PM - Cassia Herron of West Louisville Talks coming to speak. Proffitt butchering the woman's name. She states that she speaks for a constituency that has not had the audience to be heard.
4:05 PM - Jackie Green speaking to the group.
4:07 PM - Martina Kunnecke, of Neighborhood Planning and Preservation, speaking to the board. She cautions against the problems of "magical thinking." Kunnecke mentions that she grew up on 15th Street, and many spaces were walkable. Notes that the Walmart is not "transformational." The difference between reality and "magical thinking."
4:14 PM - Proffitt making a last call for speakers...no speakers. Taking another recess. Will come back for rebuttal questions to opposition speakers.
4:26 PM - Back in session. Asked if they had an opportunity to present this to Walmart, and they have. Walmart did not find it viable.
4:35 PM - Bilitski back to rebut.
4:40 PM - Teresa Bridgewaters of New Bridge Crossing speaks to the board.
4:59 PM - Board members are responding and sharing their position/concerns, etc.
The Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment (BOZA) approved plans for a west Louisville Walmart Monday evening.