After 9 years and a long off and on project, Walmart and property owners in Alachua have decided to move forward to build a supercenter and develop the surrounding area. Alachua County is challenging the project however over pollution concerns that they believe could affect the Santa Fe River. City Commission re zoned land normally meant for agriculture and made it commercial intensive, thus letting Walmart go ahead with the project. Walmart has 30 acres to build on but still must submit more site plans and revisions to the city before it can actually start building.
Walmart is keeping their cards close to their chest as a spokesperson said they have nothing new on the matter. The other partners with Walmart are also keeping quiet, waiting to make a joint statement. County officials are concerned pollution will cause harm to the aquifer and springs. The county is currently discussing options to challenge the rezoning in a meeting on Tuesday. The county owns land that could be affected, which is why they’re allowed to challenge the rezoning in the first place.
First the city and county commissions have a joint meeting Monday where the rezoning is sure to be a hot topic of discussion. County commissioner Lee Pinkoson wants the process to go smoothly and hopes lawyers don’t get involved. The county is handling this process very carefully, inspecting the land and site plans with extreme care. The city of Alachua believes that it has the potential to grow with a big shopping center type of project, saying its one of the only things missing from their city.