COVINGTON, La. - When plans to build a 118,000 sq. ft. Walmart on Brewster Road were revealed in a permit request to the Corps of Engineers last week, it was a wake-up call for many people staunchly opposed to the project for more than a year.
Resident Aurelia Marek said, "We're horrified. We really think that this is inappropriate and just plain wrong for this neighborhood. This is a two-lane residential road."
Current concerns about flooding and traffic are the same arguments several area neighborhoods successfully used in a court filing last year to prevent the landowner from getting 10 acres of his property re-zoned to match the other 30, in order to bring a big-box store to the area.
However, the permit request indicates the plan is moving forward with only 20 acres, so all of the affected neighborhoods met to form a new plan of action against the project.
"Based on the reaction of the people who were at the meeting last night, I think that that support does go up and down the length of Highway 21 and the surrounding areas," said Sandra Slifer, president of the Association of Associations.
Residents in the area are now re-igniting their effort to stop the project by putting out new signs, starting a letter writing campaign and vowing to show up in full force if and when this gets back to the parish level.
There was no comment from the company requesting the permit, but the parish president said she has concerns about the project, particularly the traffic.
Neighbors would like to compromise on an alternative development, but if not, “We are not unhopeful and we are coming in and fighting it with all we have," said Marek.
The comment period for the Corps permit request ends in a week. As of now, no permit request has been issued to the parish planning commission.