Tonight 4 city council members (Patt, Wyman, Chynoweth, Hayes) voted unanimously to approve the Preliminary Subdivision Plat for Walmart in East Urbana at the corner of route 130 and route 150. Council members Huth and Whelan were absent and Otto recused himself due to a conflict of interest. Over 40 members of the public submitted comments all but two of which were opposed to the Walmart development.
The mayor and council members explained that because Walmart's proposal did not include any requests for incentives from the City that the law gave Walmart an absolute private property right to develop on that land which has been zoned B3 for several months. The only choice for council this evening would be to determine that the development plan wasn't up to city code and to give Walmart a chance to come up to code.
Members of the public expressed many concerns about the impact of Walmart on local businesses and the environment, questioned the reality of the $700,000 tax revenue that some claimed Walmart would bring in, and expressed general frustration with the process in which they were constantly told that any given meeting was not the right place to discuss whether or not Walmart should build in Urbana. Those opposed to Walmart hoped that Council members would table tonight's vote or find a reason to vote against it.