Land rezoned for business

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Wal-Mart is one step closer to opening up shop in Vidalia after the Vidalia Board of Alderman voted Monday to change the zoning of its new property from open land to business district land.

The vote, which was unanimous, came after a public hearing that drew no members of the public.

Aldermen Jon Betts and Ricky Knapp were absent from the meeting, as was Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland. Copeland is in Washington, D.C., with local leaders lobbying the Louisiana congressional delegation to promote business concerns.

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The zoning change for the 25.41-acre property, which Wal-Mart owns, is the next-to-last hurdle the retailer must clear before beginning construction on a new 105,000-square foot SuperCenter.

The city must approve a similar zoning change for a 17-foot by 925-foot strip of land running along US 65/84 that Wal-Mart is in the process of acquiring.

The land was formerly the right-of-way of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad.

The zoning change will be introduced at the board&8217;s March 14 meeting, after which a public hearing will be advertised.