For Good Growth DeKalb, the fight against a retail giant continues.
The grassroots group is opposed to the building of a Walmart Supercenter at the Suburban Plaza shopping center in unincorporated DeKalb County, near Decatur. That sentiment is being expressed in an ongoing campaign marked by staged protests, among other efforts.
Good Growth DeKalb officials vowed to pick up the pace despite the recent strides made by Walmart and developer Selig Enterprises.
“Our objective is still, if at all possible, to not have Walmart go into Suburban Plaza,” said Good Growth spokesperson Robert Blondeau. “But, if it’s going to happen no matter what we would certainly be willing to sit down with Walmart and Selig and say, ‘What can we do to make this as amenable as possible?’”
Until then, though, residents can expect to see group members — with picket signs in hand — stage monthly rallies near the plaza site, the six-way intersection at North Decatur Road, Scott Boulevard and Medlock Roads. The demonstrations have attracted dozens of people, with the next one scheduled for July 13.
Walmart recently submitted an application for a land disturbance permit at Suburban Plaza, essentially taking the first step toward development. The permit includes, among other things, decisions affecting demolition, access points onto public streets and parking lot design.
Theresa Same, zoning chair for the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association, has been working with both sides.
“After engaging legal counsel and speaking with our county representatives, I decided that it is in the best interest of our neighborhood to work with Selig and Walmart,” Same said. “The [MANA] board and I are realistic in trying to negotiate the best development we can for our neighborhood … this is especially difficult within the confines of our county and state laws/ordinances that generally favor business and cars over residents and alternative transportation.”
Meanwhile, Good Growth DeKalb is pushing for the county to pay for a new traffic study related to the project.
“We can do better than a [Walmart] supercenter,” Blondeau said. “Personally, I would love to see a multi-use development … less automobile dependent and locally controlled.”