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After 10-year legal battle, Zionsville approves Wal-Mart's store plans from 2006

July 19, 2016

The Zionsville Plan Commission on Monday night unanimously approved Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s 10-year-old proposal to construct a store in one of the area's top retail corridors.

The decision comes in response to a recent court ruling ordering the town to accept the giant retailer’s plans for a store on a 22-acre property on Michigan Road north of 106th Street.

Plan Commission President David Franz read from prepared remarks during Monday’s meeting, explaining that the commission would be following the mandate from Special Judge Steve Nation.

In his ruling issued in May, Nation wrote that the Plan Commission wrongly rejected the initial request submitted in 2006 from Wal-Mart, and the advisory body ignored previous court instructions regarding the proposal.

The Zionsville Plan Commission agreed last month not to pursue further legal action in the case.

It’s not clear whether this means Wal-Mart will proceed with constructing a new store, though. The company has declined to comment on whether it will pursue the project, and representatives were not immediately available for comment Monday night.

Industry experts have told IBJ that it’s likely Wal-Mart will pull the trigger.

Zionsville Planning and Economic Development Director Wayne DeLong said the town has not heard from the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer.

The legal battle between the town and big-box retailer started in 2006 when Wal-Mart sued in response to the Plan Commission denying its initial proposal for a 300,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by a Walmart Supercenter.

Nation ruled in favor of Wal-Mart in 2008 and ordered the Plan Commission to review the project again under stricter guidelines. But the Plan Commission denied the request again, which prompted the current lawsuit filed by Wal-Mart.

Nation's ruling — and now the Plan Commission’s approval — only apply to the 2006 proposal, so if the company opted for a store similar to what it proposed in 2012  — a 156,000-square-foot store with 3,000 square feet of space for other businesses like Subway or a salon — the approval process would likely start over.

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