Buckhead residents won’t soon be roaming the wide aisles of a new Walmart Supercenter near the Lindbergh MARTA station.

For almost two years, Sembler Co. and Fuqua Development have been pushing a mixed-use development project that would put the big-box retailer, complete with a supermarket component, within walking distance of MARTA’s Lindbergh Center station.

A 7-6 vote by Atlanta City Council on Oct. 1  fell short of the eight votes needed to approve the plan.

Fuqua Development CEO, Jeff Fuqua, said after the meeting, that he is not giving up on the project.  The council’s decision precludes reconsidering the land use and zoning request for two years.   But the developer can begin the process of submitting a new proposal at any time.  Fuqua says he plans on submitting a proposal at the neighborhood level soon.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, neighborhood groups and residents have been increasingly vocal in their opposition to the project.

Councilman Howard Shook, whose district includes the proposed build site, said that the flood of resident feedback surely had an impact on a very close vote.

“The volume of emails was such that I haven’t seen since I’ve been here for 11 years.  I know other councilmembers were listening to that,” Shook said following the vote.  “Without that [feedback] maybe this would have been approved months ago.”

Buckhead residents filed into council chambers and sat in silent opposition to the project as the issue came to a vote on Oct. 1.  A number of residents were slotted to make public comments at the meeting but declined to use their allotted time after City Council President Caesar Mitchell said council rules forbid comment on land use and zoning issues before meetings of the full council.

Fuqua said he is open to any good ideas about changes to the current site plan, he doesn’t feel a new submission would have to be radically different from the current proposal to eventually gain City Council  support.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.