City Council to consider Walmart zoning

Opponents say Remington site should be for local businesses

April 19, 2010

A proposal to build a Walmart in a Remington shopping center moved one step closer to fruition at Monday's City Council meeting when the councilwoman who represents the area introduced a bill to approve the zoning for the store.

Councilwoman Belinda K. Conaway said she did not want to see the site, the current location of Anderson Automotive on Howard Street, sit vacant. And she stressed that the plan to construct a Walmart was far from final.

"This is not a done deal," she said. "It will still go through the committee process, and there will be plenty of opportunities to hear from the community."

Opponents of the Walmart, who have formed a coalition called Bmore Local, said the developers of the site, known as 25th Street Station, should give preference to locally owned businesses.

"We would love to see it developed, but in the right way," said Sue Rovnak, an Ednor Gardens resident and Hampden business owner. The coalition, which held a rally before the meeting, has asked the city to ensure that businesses hire local contractors and employees and pay workers the state's living wage.

Also at Monday's meeting, Councilman William H. Cole IV introduced a bill to regulate the portable storage containers that take up space on city streets. A storage container recently was deposited in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in Otterbein, and officials with the company that owned it refused to name the person who had rented it, he said.

A measure to boost the fines for public urination, open containers of alcohol and "disorderly drinking" proposed by Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young received wide support from council members.

A proposal to alter the police and fire pension system— which could cost the city $64 million if not remedied by June 30— also received broad support.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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