Wal-Mart Approved, Smaller Than Retailer Hoped

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Bob Panell lives near Lake Jackson and has a very bright memory of what it was like when a big box store was open right near his home.

"The lights from the previous Sam's store when it was open would shine into my living room at night."

Since the Sam's Club on Highway 27 closed, the Wal-Mart Corporation has tried to redevelop the land. Panell and his neighbors were always hoping they'd never see another store like Sam's again.

"A very large retail development would attract a lot of people who wouldn't normally be there. It would also aggravate the existing traffic problems."

But the Leon County Board of Adjustment and Appeal voted to allow Wal-Mart to redevelop the land. Not 122,000 square feet as the company hoped, but 102,000 square feet.

Wal-Mart says that's big enough to build a Supercenter.

McDevitt said, "Any development or any reuse of that building is a good thing and it certainly would bring some jobs to the area."

Neighbors opposed to a Wal-Mart Supercenter are not satisfied, but say they are pleased the store won't be as large as originally proposed.

"We probably would have preferred that they deny the application, but by putting a limitation on the size of the new development I think that will help protect our area," said Barbara Sullivan.

Sullivan says her neighborhood has fought against this for so long, and they're not giving up now.