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Some Zachary residents one step closer to winning rezoning fight

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ZACHARY - After listening to about two hours of comments from business representatives and the community, Planning and Zoning voted down rezoning residential land for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

The proposed rezoning was voted down 5-2 and will ultimately be decided by Zachary City Council.

It's a fight many residents have been dealing with for months. The land in question sits on Highway 64 in Zachary, next to LeBlanc's Food Store and backs up to Live Oak Terrace neighborhood. The land is zoned residential and would need to be changed to commercial general to build the 44,000 sq ft building.

Monday, representatives speaking on behalf of Wal-Mart changed some details of their plans and presented them before a packed room. Representatives said there has been approval to change the hours of operation from 6 a.m. to midnight, instead of a 24-hour shopping spot.

Despite the changes, residents are concerned the change will have a negative impact.

"I really don't think we need any more commercial areas impeding on our little community," said Melba Gardner.

Like others, Gardner has a sign in her front yard that reads "Save Church St. Keep it residential." Others, have signs that say "Help save our neighborhoods," with the Live Oak Trace subdivision website.

Gardner's fear is that developing the land into a neighborhood Wal-Mart will bring noise pollution from increased car and truck traffic, and encourage her neighbors to move.

"If we have another commercial place, like another grocery store in here, it just ruins the whole concept of why we moved here," she said.

Residents in favor of the rezoning are concerned if the Wal-Mart is not built, the tax dollars will go elsewhere. Some people want to see the land developed.

"The silent group of the rest of the city would like to see progress and growth, not at anyone's expense, but what we believe is best for the city," said one Zachary resident.

A LeBlanc's representative is all for economic growth but is against commercial general growth.

"Who wants to drive in and drive out every morning and see a big box store? I don't care how pretty you make it, you're still putting lipstick on a pig, in my opinion," he said.

Another woman echoed those concerns.

"We've heard a lot about smart growth recently," she said. "But this is definitely not smart growth."

The measure will go before the city council later this month.



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