Walmart is officially staying in Naperville, and city officials hope it will be the best-landscaped Walmart around.
Council members Tuesday approved the final site plan for the proposed Walmart Supercenter at the southeast corner of 75th Street and Beebe Drive, but not without squeezing the maximum landscaping from the corporation.
Councilman Grant Wehrli said he would like to see the store follow the lead of nearby Costco and Whole Foods by going "above and beyond" the city's landscaping requirements.
"I would love to have Walmart come in, but I'm concerned about the landscaping. What I would like to see done there is for Walmart to follow the lead of the other two developments, literally across the two streets, and go above and beyond with the landscaping. It's relatively inexpensive and the benefit to society is massive," Wehrli said. "If we go to the higher standard of landscaping, we're not just going to be like the Walmart in Buffalo Grove. It's going to take that intersection to a higher level."
One addition to the final plan includes a requirement that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. seek input from the DuPage Forest Preserve District. The forest preserve district recently reached out to the city expressing the need to protect Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve and promoting the planting of native species on the Walmart site.
Wal-Mart representative Aaron Matson called the timing of the request "eleventh-hour," but said they were doing the best they can to address the concerns.
A few council members, including Kenn Miller and Doug Krause, said they believe the city may be going too far in its request.
"If we're not careful with what we're asking for, they may decide to say, 'Hey, let's move right across the street (to Aurora)," Krause said.
City Planning Team Leader Allison Laff said Walmart has already addressed many of the forest preserve district's concerns.
"We're close," she said.
Wal-Mart officials still hope to break ground this year on the store that has also been awarded a $1.75 rebate in sales tax revenues over 10 years.