Walmart representatives told the Windsor Town Board on Tuesday they are committed to building a store in town, but still don’t have a plan for the start of the project.
Representatives requested the town board extend Walmart’s vested property rights on land located at the northeast corner of Main and 17th streets until August 2017, during the board’s regular meeting Monday.
“I come bearing good and bad news,” Josh Phair, director of public affairs and government relations for Walmart, said during the meeting. “The good news is we’re here before you again to reiterate our commitment to building the store. The bad news is I don’t have a plan moving forward with any particular dates at this time … The progress this town has made in terms of rooftops and the market growing, as we anticipated it would 7 or 8 years ago, obviously that progress has been made and that progress is noted on our end.”
Windsor Mayor John Vazquez asked Phair if it was safe to say that if Walmart wasn’t interested in building a store in Windsor at some point in the future, they would have already liquidated the land set aside for the development.
“We don’t tend to hang onto land at various expenses if we’re not intending to use it,” Phair said.
The board unanimously approved the resolution extending the vested property rights for Walmart. Vazquez was the only board member to make comments about the development.
“I certainly lived in the community back in 2006 when this first came before the board and I know that it is obviously a topic that seems to create a lot of emotion one way or the other,” Vazquez said. “I do know that through a lot of participation in the community and citizens’ initiative and a number of very engaged groups, at the end of the day the community said they supported this land use, this location and site plan. I don’t see any reason for us to deny the extension of this application based on the history of this application and knowing that at this time the intent of Walmart isn’t to land bank, but to business plan. So I’m going to support this extension myself.”
The board originally approved the site plan and vested property rights for a Walmart Supercenter in 2006. Since then, it has extended the rights for the company twice — in 2007 and 2011. The most recent approval gives Walmart until August 2014 to begin construction of the project or request another extension from the board.