ELLISVILLE, MO (KTVI)-- After more than a year-long battle, opponents believed they’d "killed" the deal for a new WalMart in Ellisville, Wednesday night.
The city council rejected a key extension for the project, with a tie vote, 3-3. It needed a majority to pass.
The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the $50-million project expires September 5th. Tax breaks would cover $15 million of the cost – including $11 million in tax increment financing – or TIF – a hot-button issue in Ellisville, with opponents maintaining mega retailer WalMart did not need taxpayer help to build stores.
The furor over the project led to the election of a new anti-WalMart council majority. It also fueled the impeachment and then reinstatement of the anti-WalMart Mayor, Adam Paul.
Developer Sansone and WalMart petitioned for up to a 6 month CUP extension to finish acquiring all of the properties and permits needed to move forward.
Attorneys, business owners, and residents on both sides clashed before the council Wednesday night.
Jim Sansone and WalMart attorneys blamed a resident's lawsuit for delays in acquiring the needed properties and permits. That lawsuit is under appeal.
A WalMart spokesman said the deal was not dead; the company still had 15 days to “tidy up” the groundwork; the “heavy lifting” was already done.
If WalMart fails to get the needed property and permits by Sept. 5th, the company can seek a new CUP. Given Wednesday’s vote, it would be unlikely to win passage.