Neighbors wage war on proposed Winston-Salem Walmart

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Many people living off Meadowlark and Country Club Roads turned out for a community meeting Thursday night upset over a proposed Neighborhood Market Walmart.

The grocery store, that will include a pharmacy, is one-fourth the size of a Walmart Supercenter and smaller than a Harris Teeter or Food Lion.

Some residents say they worry Walmart moving in next to upscale communities, like Brookberry Farm, will hurt their home values while others fear it will bring more traffic to an already congested area.

"The traffic situation is absolutely horrendous," said Jack Nelson one of many resident who packed Meadowlark Middle School Thursday night to hear from city leaders and developers."The neighbors are all up in arms."

Developers and DOT plans, along with city traffic studies, show Walmart could help improve the area's traffic problems.

"The plans our developers are making along with some plans that the state has in the works will really improve that traffic situation," said Walmart spokesman Bill Wertz. "We aren't going to make it worse we are really going to make it better."

NC transportation officials already have plans to make improvements to intersections at Meadowlark and Country Club Roads. Wal-Mart plans to pay for traffic improvements too.

And it could be worse.

The proposed site next to Brookberry Farms was zoned for a 71,650 sq shopping center back in 1998. Nothing was ever built on the site and the zoning has never changed which means someone could build a shopping center at anytime without city approval. Wal-Mart wants to rezone the property to build a 41,179 sq grocery store, which would create less traffic than a shopping center.

"In reality this is better," said resident Paul Pento. "If we are stuck with one of these the new one is better."

The city council will formally receive the re-zoning request on October 28. If approved, the new grocery story will be open by the end of 2014.

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