Residents and local business owners opposing Walmart’s attempt to build a superstore in Midtown Miami have now appealed to a higher court.
The group of petitioners has filed a “petition for writ of certiorari” with the state’s Third District Court of Appeal, after a county judge denied an appeal from residents who oppose the giant retailer’s move into their neighborhood, in August.
A writ of certiorari orders a lower court to deliver its records in a case so that the higher case may review it.
“We have left the county court and are now going to the state circuit court,” Grant Stern, who runs the website NoWalmartinMidtown.com told The Real Deal.
The group is appealing “based on the city withholding all records and plans before the hearing where those plans were approved,” he said.
“The city shouldn’t be allowed to play games of hide and seek with residents who want to make meaningful input into their decision-making process,” Stern told TRD.
Critics of the proposed Walmart have argued that it will create traffic congestion in the neighborhood, and cut Midtown off from Wynwood.
“Walmart’s plans for Midtown Miami have been unanimously approved by the city commission and the court has validated that approval,” William Wertz, Walmart’s director of communications, said in a statement late Friday. “It’s unfortunate that a small group of individuals are going to great lengths to delay the arrival of hundreds of new jobs and affordable grocery options in Midtown Miami, despite overwhelming support for a new Walmart from residents in nearby Wynwood, Overtown, Allapattah and Downtown Miami. We look forward to the day when we can open the new store that so many in the community have been anticipating.”
The nation’s largest retailer plans to build a 203,000-square-foot store on North Miami Avenue. Last year, a group of residents sued the city for granting a permit with variances on loading berths. In October 2014, a three-judge panel ruled that the city approved five berths, which is above the allowed limit of three, and sent it back to the city for reconsideration. Walmart submitted corrected plans, which the city approved. The residents later appealed the decision.
In late August, the 11th Circuit Court’s Appellate Division denied their appeal, filing a one-page document without commentary. The ruling followed a hearing on Aug. 20.
Walmart paid $8.2 million for the 4.6 acre site at 3055 North Miami Avenue in January 2014.