Wal-Mart development applications in the East Valley have led to neighborhood protests, terminated applications and a referendum, but resistance to the latest Gilbert proposal has been nonexistent.
A proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter and adjacent Sam's Club was presented publicly for the first time Thursday at the Gilbert Design Review Board meeting. Although design issues remain, no objections have surfaced to building the stores on the southwest corner of Williams Field Road and the future San Tan Freeway stretch of Loop 202.
"I haven't found any limitations on this going in," senior planner Jim Cronk said.
Cronk said he has received only two phone calls to discuss the stores — one opposed to commercial development in the area and the other inquiring about the location, which is near Greenfield Road.
Mary Helmhout, 82, has lived most of the past 60 years near Greenfield and Pecos roads, about one mile from the proposed Wal-Mart.
"I'd love to have a Wal-Mart. I'd be tickled to death," Helmhout said.
This is a far cry from Wal-Mart's previous attempt to enter Gilbert. In that case, the town said the proposal violated ordinances and the application has since been terminated. A neighborhood group gathered 576 signatures opposing the store on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Warner roads, which is close to the downtown area.
Despite the lack of public resistance, the latest proposal of a 207,000-square-foot Supercenter and a 133,000-square-foot Sam's Club does not meet the zoning ordinance's design standards, which require a historic southwest design, plazas, shaded areas and a pedestrian-friendly environment, Cronk and board
Wal-Mart community affairs manager Pete Kanelos said: "We went in there looking for input from the Design Review Board and we will review their recommendations and make an effort to incorporate them into our plan."