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Stafford OKs bigger Wal-Mart
Supervisors vote 5-2 to approve Supercenter at Ferry Farm

Date published: 2/16/2005

A Wal-Mart Supercenter is coming to Washington Square Plaza in southern Stafford.

After nearly a year of debate, the Stafford Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 last night to let the retail giant double the size of its store off State Route 3 east from just over 100,000 square feet to 207,535 square feet.

The expansion will allow for a complete supermarket inside the discount store and add more parking on the building's west side.

Construction could start as early as this fall and will take about six months to complete, said Clark Leming, the Stafford land-use lawyer representing Wal-Mart.

It was a tough call, said Supervisor Pete Fields, who negotiated the expansion deal and required zoning change.

"To deny them the Supercenter at this point simply forces them to build a different version that has worse impacts to the community," Fields said.

As part of its proffer package, Wal-Mart agreed to build a 33-foot-high sound wall to insulate nearby Tylertown residents from the noise of the loading dock on the east side of the store.

The company also agreed to reroute its delivery trucks away from the property line abutting Tylertown, to build extra traffic lanes on State Route 3 near the first entrance to Tylertown subdivision, and to inspect its stormwater management facilities quarterly.

In addition, the Bentonville, Ark., retailer had previously agreed to upgrade signs, restrict displaying merchandise outdoors, and erect a historical marker to commemorate Franklin's Crossing, a nearby Civil War site.

Still, some who live near the Wal-Mart said they were disappointed by the board's decision.

Tylertown resident Don Matheny said he appreciates Fields' efforts to negotiate the sound wall, but isn't sure it will work. And if it doesn't, he said, he isn't sure what other recourse he will have.

"It's a question of Wal-Mart being a good neighbor, and they haven't been," he said.

To reach RUTH FINCH: 540/720-1622 rfinch@freelancestar.com