LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --A west end Wal-Mart is closer to becoming a reality. Despite heavy opposition, the Louisville Metro Planning Commission approved waivers that will allow Wal-Mart to build their proposed store with a parking lot in the front on West Broadway.


After several hours of discussion commissioners reluctantly approved the Wal-Mart plan. One commissioner voted against and another abstained from voting.


At issue Thursday night was a design plan brought forth by Wal-Mart that opponents say violates land development codes. Wal-Mart representative Deborah Bilitski says it's the plan that would be most successful for the super center. However many people in attendance at the meeting felt the plan with a parking lot in front of the building destroys an urban landscape, meaning they wanted the building closer to the sidewalk. 

Other options were proposed such as adding retail space along the roadway in front of the parking lot to keep the urban feel, but Bilitski said that was not the plan Wal-Mart brought fourth to be voted on Thursday night. 

In the end only one of the commissioners voted against the Wal-Mart waivers of the land code regulations despite believing the super center was capable of making changes to their design. 

Those in favor say they are excited to see how the store could revitalize West Louisville.

"There's not a place that needs it more than West Louisville so I think it's a great win for the community and certainly a great win for beginning to move forward in a much needed area," Matthew Harrell told WDRB News. 

The super center is expected to bring 300 jobs to the area. 

Commissioner David Proffitt said the land development code has good design principles and waivers are often approved but only when they are warranted -- and in the case of Wal-Mart -- he doesn't believe they are warranted. 

"As an architect whose actually done some large box stores in past life, I know for a fact that something different could have been done," said Proffitt. 

The proposal will next go to the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Testimony is expected to be heard February 16. 

“I am pleased that the Planning Commission listened to the community and voted to move forward with a new Wal-Mart," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a release Thursday night. "I urge the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the next step in this process, to also show their support for this proposal.”

The meeting allowed supporters and opponents of Wal-Mart to make brief statements.

Dozens of Wal-Mart supporters started the evening with a rally and circle of prayer before the meeting.

The group was trying to persuade the planning commission to approve Wal-Mart's current plan to build the superstore on West Broadway.

Opponents say Wal-Mart pays low wages and worry the store will hurt smaller, urban businesses.

Supporters hoped commission members will vote in favor of the store before it's too late.

"I believe the planning commission needs to proceed with approval without delay and make that project a reality for the residents of west Louisville," Reverend Clay Calloway, a Wal-Mart supporter said.

A large part of the disagreement stems from whether the store should have an urban or suburban design.

During the meeting, a Wal-Mart representative said the superstore is unable to make revisions to their proposal.

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