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About Wal-Mart: What we know, and what we don't know

By Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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Many citizens have been reading the newspapers and then asking questions about the possibility of a SUPER WAL-MART SHOPPING CENTER making its appearance in northern Chatham along Route 15/501. Our effort now involves collecting facts and the views of the citizens of Chatham County.

Officially, NO APPLICATION has been filed with the County as of this date; so officially there's no Wal-Mart, only conjecture and a very large rumor!!


The property (subject of the rumor), is located on the East side of Route 15/501, North of Old Lystra Road (where the UNC Park and Ride is currently being excavated)and South of the ALR store opposite Smith Level Road intersection.

The property is owned by Lee-Moore Oil Company of Sanford. The acreage mentioned in various news articles is 62.9 acres; 20 acres of which are zoned for commercial use and 42.9 acres of which are zoned for 1 house per acre.


The 20 acres, since it is an approved use, would not require a public hearing, nor appproval by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners to become a shopping center. An application would have to be filed and then reviewed by the Chatham County Planning Department.

In order for the remaining 42.9 acres to become part of a shopping center, it would have to be re-zoned for commercial use. This re-zoning process would require a public hearing, review by the Planning Board and a vote by the County Commissioners.

Both parcels are located in what has been designated as a WS-IV Watershed Areas-Protected Area by the county-wide Chatham CountyWatershed Protection Ordinance. The provision of this ordinance will limit the impervious surface (e.g. build-upon) area of a proposed shopping center to 24% of the property.


In order for the property to have a direct access point from 15/501, the new road divider would have to be opened up. If the DOT refuses to do that, property easements would be needed from three property owners of neighboring properties for an access roadway.


It usually contains the following: groceries, clothing, toys, household products, hardware, electronics, video tapes and CDs, a pharmacydrug store, tires and automotive supplies, craft supplies, stationary, pottery, a garden shop, sewing notions and materials, pet supplies, an optical shop, beauty shop, one hour photo and a fast food restaurant, etc. Wal-Mart is usually the anchor store with other non-competing stores such as banks, investment operations, gas stations, and restaurants surrounding it. Super Wal-Marts that opened this year in Raleigh, Hickory, Charlotte and Asheville have included such additional retail services as a portrait studio, hearing aid center and their own wireless cellular phone sales center.


The effect would vary, depending on your viewpoint, what your knowledge is about Wal-Mart, where you live, your commute to your place of business, shopping, etc. As we wait for the DOT decisions and all the other pieces of the pie, we want to learn the views of citizens.


1. Supply us with additional facts about a Super Wal-MART - its policies, its impact on businesses - large and small, its economic impacts, traffic issues, etc. We will be posting sources we have to date on our web-site-see - it will also be updated periodically with information you provide.

2. Speak with people you know - family, friends, neighbors, small store owners, large stores, etc. to gather input. How do people feel? What are they thinking?

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About Wal-Mart: What we know, and what we don't know

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Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities

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