Wal-Mart asks reconsideration of decision against store plan


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. yesterday petitioned the county Zoning Board to reconsider its rejection of an Ellicott City site for two warehouse-sized stores.

The petition filed by zoning attorney Richard B. Talkin charges there is "substantial mistake, inadvertence and irregularity" in the board's unanimous July 29 denial.

Wal-Mart sought to change 54 office/research acres to general business zoning.

The five-member County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, ruled that in 10 nights of hearings, Wal-Mart had not proven that the 1985 office/research zoning was a mistake, or that the character of the neighborhood had changed. All individual zoning changes require one of those two factors.

But the 11-page petition argues that the board applied the wrong standard for deciding change and mistake, and should have used a "more liberal standard" derived from precedents in which other land was changed from one commercial zoning category to another.

"The same arguments are being raised that were raised in the hearing," said opposition attorney Vincent M. Guida, who represents a town house developer with property adjoining the Ellicott City site.

Mr. Guida said that he will consult with his client, Joseph Wilder, and may file a response to the motion.

Among the other points raised in the petition is that the board failed to properly consider economic trends as did in granting a zoning change last year to the Rouse Co.

Wal-Mart has until Aug. 28 to file a civil appeal in Circuit Court, but the petition asks for a suspension that would extend that deadline.

Wal-Mart intends to build a 114,000-square-foot department store and a 130,000-square-foot, members-only wholesale buying club at the intersection of U.S. 40 and U.S. 29 in Ellicott City.

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