Walmart's liquor box store in South Walton will remain small, at least for now.
Walmart has stated its need for a larger liquor store due to the popularity of its South Walton location.
According to Walmart, its South Walton liquor store is the busiest store per square foot of any in the entire United States.
However, the store was constructed on a small amount of land originally and close to its eastern boundary of West Hewett Road with a retention pond on its eastern side, leaving few options for expansion.
Walmart has asked the Walton County Planning Commission for a deviation to take out parking spaces on its eastern side for expansion that would include 5,048 additional square feet and eliminate 39 spaces for the new and improved liquor store. The elimination of the spaces would take the store from 341 down to 302 spaces.
Walmart provided a study that stated they do not need that many spaces. Currently, the store has 23 more spaces than what is required, but if approved, they would be 16 under what is required.
Planner Tim Brown said Walmarts around the country are expanding their liquor areas.
"This shows a demand here and this is one of the smallest Walmarts I have ever seen," said Mac Carpenter, planning director.
But Planning Commission Chair Teddy Stewart said that was poor planning on Walmart's part that they did not anticipate growth.
"They need to build a bigger store somewhere else," said Stewart.
Planning Commissioner Danny Glidewell tended to agree.
"We're boxing Hewett Road in to where it can't be fixed if widening were needed in the future. When do we stop giving deviations? I can't see boxing us in on Hewett Road any further and giving another deviation," said Glidewell.
Walmart's application was denied unanimously by planning commission.
Stewart recommended Walmart come back with a plan for the west side of the building instead.