Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Speaking Up Earns Resident Applause

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Speaking Up Earns Resident Applause

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Staff writer

When she looks back, Marian Beaman says the past year was almost an updated version of the biblical battle of David vs. Goliath, with her small Killarney Shores neighborhood the former, and Wal-Mart the giant.

The efforts of her 68-home neighborhood caused Wal-Mart to make 11 changes to a rezoning request approved in August by the City Council to lessen the impact of its planned 215,000-square-foot SuperCenter at 8808 Beach Blvd. on their community. The effort also helped revive the community's dormant neighborhood association.

But Beaman said she never expected the battle would win her the Southside Business Men's Club's Outspoken Citizens Award, or the Southeast Citizens Planning Advisory Committee Person of the Year Award. So the Florida Community College at Jacksonville professor said she wants to make sure the neighbors who helped win the concessions share in the awards.

"I am just stunned. I thought when [the vote occurred]. . . in August, it was all over, and I would be here at the college doing my part for the community. I was stunned to receive recognition. Our thought was just survival and preservation of the quality of life," she said. "We decided to take the risk and be proactive."

Wal-Mart needed rezoning approval to replace its 15-year-old, 108,486-square-foot store with a SuperCenter. Many Killarney Shores' homeowners said it would be too big and too close when they first learned about it a year ago.

But during a series of town meetings between Wal-Mart officials and the homeowners association, they earned concessions. Company officials moved the store 400 feet from the nearest homes, set aside a 3 1/2-acre wooded area as a buffer, moved existing trees to shield the view of the store from homes and added an 8-foot-tall wall and fencing between store and homes. …

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