City Council Approves Zoning Change For NW Wichita Sam's Club

By: Lily Wu and Phil White Email
By: Lily Wu and Phil White Email

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UPDATE: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wichita City Council members approve zoning change from residential to light commercial at the northeast corner of 29th St. N. and Maize Rd.

The zoning change allows Sam’s Club to build a new store in northwest Wichita.

Residents in the Fox Ridge development protested the change. They were concerned about increased traffic and home property devaluation.

Council member Jeff Longwell said that Sam's Club made more than 30 changes to improve the design and requirements to help alleviate some concerns.

The modifications include improvements for drainage and traffic flow. Also, moving the Sam’s building further from the abutting residential neighborhood and adding landscaping and buffering.

Longwell proposed approval of the change and council voted, 6-1. Council member Lavonta Williams cast the single opposition vote.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not everybody excited about a recent announcement by Sam's Club that it plans to build a third Wichita store.

People who live near the site of the proposed new store, near 29th Street North and Maize Road, are gearing up to oppose a zoning change for that property.

One of the main concerns of people who live in the area, especially in the Fox Ridge development to the north and the east of the proposed store, is an increase in traffic they fear the store will bring. They are making sure their opposition is well-organized.

"It's definitely a reason to organize and educate everybody on what the whole process is for the rezoning," said Roger Nice, who lives in Fox Ridge.

Nice and many of his neighbors gathered at the Sedgwick County Extension Center Tuesday evening to discuss the City of Wichita's zoning process and what the neighborhood can do to try to stop the zoning change.

"Really the whole consensus of the neighbors is they'd like to see that area be residential," Nice said.

Right now, the property on the northeast corner of 29th and Maize is zoned as residential, but developers have asked the city to rezone it as light commercial.

"It was originally scheduled that this was to be more local retail with smaller dentist offices and local things," said Fox Ridge resident Larry Bruna. "It wouldn't have such large traffic all day and all night."

The 2030 Wichita Functional Land Use Guide classifies the property in question as "Local Commercial." Sam's is considered "Regional Commercial."

"We'd have people coming from all over the whole side of town and west of town as well," Bruna said.

"I know it's an added convenience for some people to have a Sam's nearby, but the way I look at it, I can be there in 10 minutes," said Mike Beavers.

He and his wife moved to their home in Fox Ridge from Atlanta about a year ago.

"Atlanta was such a big city with so much bad traffic and all that we were delighted to come to Wichita because it's so simple to get from Point A to Point B," he said.

Now he worries how having a retail development nearby will affect the value of houses in his neighborhood.

"We can't just up and sell," he said. "We just bought our house. We've been in it six months, so it's put us in a bad position. We're not happy about it."

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