NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Edmond council plans to appeal Walmart decision a second time

EDMOND — The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals has ruled against the city of Edmond's denial of a Walmart site plan for a Neighborhood Market at Covell and Coltrane roads.

The appellate decision upheld an Oklahoma County District Court ruling in favor of Covell Creek LLC, owner of a 10-acre tract on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Edmond City Council members agreed this week to appeal the Court of Civil Appeals decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. They spent 50 minutes in executive session deciding whether to appeal for a second time.

"(The) council had a good discussion with our legal counsel and agreed on instructions to file an appeal," said Mayor Charles Lamb.

City Attorney Steve Murdock said he was disappointed with the Court of Civil Appeals ruling.

The city has until July 20 to file the petition.

Property owners in the nearby Asheforde Oaks housing addition have been against the Neighborhood Market since Covell Creek LLC filed a site plan application with the city in August 2015.

The Asheforde Oaks Homeowners Association Inc. joined the lawsuit as an intervenor and plans to continue with the city with the appeal, said Perry Kaufman, attorney for the homeowners association.

Telephone calls to attorneys for Covell Creek LLC were not returned Tuesday.

Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews issued a Nov. 3 ruling overturning the city's Jan. 11, 2016, decision and granting the developer's request for approval of its site plan. Lamb and councilman Darrell Davis voted for the plan, and council members Nick Massey, Elizabeth Waner and Victoria Caldwell were against it.

The council's January 2016 decision came after two hours of listening to 17 neighbors complain about increased traffic and the lighting, design, trees and public safety at the planned 41,952-square-foot business.

Planning commission members had denied the site plan application on Oct. 20, 2015, by a 2 to 2 vote.

Andrews called the planning commission and council denials, which were based on the neighbors' safety and health concerns, "arbitrary and unreasonable." He ruled that Covell Creek's site plan met the standards of the Edmond municipal code.

Appellate judges, in an appeal filed by the city, agreed with Andrews that the developer's site plan application met all the planned unit development and ordinance requirements.

"There are no allegations that the site plan fails to comply with all pertinent zoning ordinances," Appellate Judge Robert D. Bell wrote in his Court of Civil Appeals opinion.

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›