Potential Walmart concerns Crestline residents

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Walmart Neighborhood Market

A Walmart Neighborhood Market, like the one in Homewood on Palisades Blvd., is under discussion to be built on Montclair Road near Crestline. Photo by Keith McCoy.

Walmart has discussed developing a Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store on the five acres adjacent to Beech Circle, and Crestline residents are concerned about the prospect. The city of Birmingham property is located across from Trinity Medical Center on Montclair Road.

“There is no agreement in place now,” said Sonny Culp, real estate broker for the property and Senior Vice President of Graham & Company.  Culp, a Crestline resident, said he could not confirm who the party interested in development is, but he acknowledged that it has leaked out from other sources that it is Walmart.

“The neighborhood wishes to maintain the character of this area as it is and not to allow the kind of development that exists east of this area on Montclair Road to move into this area,” said Crestline Neighborhood Association President Sandra Storm.

Emails have circulated raising awareness of the issue among residents and asking neighbors to voice their opinions. A “No Wal-Mart in my Crestline Area” Facebook group had 239 members as of mid-June.

“We would consider buying [the five acres], I but don’t think Birmingham would consider selling,” Mayor Terry Oden said. “It’s an income producer for them.”

The property was previously athletic fields for the old John Carroll Catholic High School campus and is currently zoned for medical and office use.

The five acres, along with the 16 next to it, have been for sale for almost three years.

Arlington Properties, the developer of Hallman Hill in Homewood, has an agreement to purchase the other 16 acres to build more than 200 high-end apartments. The proposal has been met with favor by the surrounding neighborhood associations, Culp said, and is pending to be rezoned for residential use.

Regardless of the five acres’ buyer, Arlington Properties is concerned about who their neighbor will be. They have negotiated for and received complete approval of restrictions on the five acres.

The property will never be able to be used for a variety of things including a secondhand store, liquor store, bowling alley, skating rinks, flea markets, arcades and any development that sells of pornographic materials or creates objectionable noise.

“Anyone who wants to be opposed to something should make their voice heard,” Culp said. “The good news is there is a system in place to do so.”

If a developer were to apply for rezoning for the property, it would first submit an application with the City of Birmingham.  From there, it would present its plans to the neighborhood association, and the neighborhood association would vote on the proposal. The Zoning Applications Committee would take into consideration the neighborhood’s wishes among other things and then make a recommendation to the City Council, who will then make the final decision on the rezoning.

Culp held a meeting on June 1 with the Crestline Neighborhood Association to address the status of the property. During the meeting, he explained that no decision had been made and how the rezoning procedure would work.

Charles Graham, also of Graham & Company, Councilor Valerie Abbott, Mayor Oden and David Ricker for Birmingham Councilor Kim Rafferty also attended the meeting.

Residents and Oden argue that the area already has plenty of grocers within close driving distance.

“Winn Dixie, Publix, Piggly Wiggly, Aldi and Walmart are all within a mile radius,” Oden said. “We do not need another grocery store. It would be cannibalizing those [existing] stores.”

Both the neighborhood association and Oden said that such development would require “spot zoning,” which they believe to be a bad principle.

The Crestline Neighborhood Association has already voted to support residential zoning at this location. “We would like to see the property used in a manner appropriate for the area and the zoning,” Storm said.

“I’m always a green space person and would love to see a park,” Oden said, “An office building would be acceptable.”

Storm said that the proposal impacts Mountain Brook residents and welcomes the interest so many have shown in the proposal.

“We are all in this together,” she said. “We are all interested in maintaining the character of our neighborhoods and the property values of our homes.“

What do you think about the potential for a Walmart grocery store on Montclair? Visit http://www.villagelivingonline.com or our Facebook page or send us an email to let us know.

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6 responses to “Potential Walmart concerns Crestline residents

  1. Incompatible with the neighborhood and with St. Francis, next door.

  2. I DO NOT WANT A WALMART GROCERY STORE ON MONTCLAIR. PLEASE LET’S PREVENT THIS.

  3. I live on Haygood Street,which is used extensively as a cut-through street between Montclair Rd and Montevallo Rd, even now.

    The addition of a business near the intersection of Haygood St and Montclair Rd would increase traffic on my street even more.

    Please zone the area as residential only.

    Thanks,

    Susan Suter

  4. Heather Stuckey

    Please keep this issue in the forefront of our communities! The Super Wal-Mart currently on Montclair is not a pleasant place – unfriendly staff, dirty store and parking lot as well as no involvement or contribution to our community. We do NOT need or want another establishment of this kind! Thank you again!!!

  5. The old Western supermarket location off Monclair became a Thrift Store, Brunos closed,Centuury Plaza closed because of crime, Publix is too dangerous for the elderly to load their own groceries in the parking lot. The neighborhood does not need to introduce another shoplifting experience for thugs.Mountain Brook closed the Birmingham entrance to Beech Circle after multiple burglaries to homes behind John Carroll Field. Birmingham needs to think about quality of life issues if they expect to survive as a city.

  6. I think when Mountain Brooks Interest are effected then they care about what is done in Birmingham City, but as soon as it does not directly effect them, then they could care less and eventually the problem gets to their doorstep and they can no longer wall themselves off. Where is Mountain Brook when regional projects are needed and they need to give a little? I think Mountain Brook could afford to help fund more of Birmingham’s Public transportation and things that help the residence of Birmingham get to and from work. I do not feel a bit sorry for those in Mountain Brook or any over any community that has a “Tiny Kingdom” mentality.

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