HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WTVD) --Residents and town leaders in Hope Mills held intense discussions Monday evening about a proposed new Walmart.
It was supposed to have been a simple rezoning request from residential to commercial, but it became a community fight.
Walmart wants to build a smaller neighborhood grocery store at the intersection of Elk and Legion Roads. It would only be about one-fourth of the size of a regular Walmart store.
At the packed public hearing on the request, the speakers were just about evenly divided between those who argued the Walmart store would bring jobs, growth and revenue to the town, and those opposed who said the store would bring more traffic problems and crime in their neighborhoods.
"This rezoning will provide 175 new jobs in our area," said Mike Mitchell, who supports the rezoning. "Based on my knowledge, these jobs will be comparable in pay and benefits to what the local businesses provide."
"My fear is that we will tack a convenience store and gas station onto every corner of every neighborhood in Hope Mills," said Pat Hall, who opposes the rezoning. "If you approve this tonight, that ball starts rolling. The dominoes start falling."
Most of the town council members admitted it is a tough decision that has pitted neighbor against neighbor.
It was so controversial that the town board voted to table the request until its meeting next month.
Many who left the meeting said they were disappointed in the delay and plan to be back at the next meeting.
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