Oriental board gives Walmart Express access to town water - WNCT

Oriental board gives Walmart Express access to town water

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The town of Oriental's board members agree to grant Walmart Express access to the town's water system.

The decision to give the store access to the town's water comes after a lot of controversy; especially, for local businesses in fear of the chain store's negative impact on their small businesses.

On Friday, the board of commissioners called a special meeting to address the water access issue. Following a public discussion, the board voted to give the Walmart Express access to the town's water system. Mayor, William Sage, tells 9 On Your Side, the town created a committee to enter into negotiations with Walmart. Following negotiations Walmart agreed to several of the town's terms, like eliminating access into a back road at the rear of the building, using LED's for parking lot lighting, and consulting with the town's tree standards when it comes to landscaping.

One term Walmart did not agree to was annexation into the city. Sage says while annexation was off the table, Walmart did agree to pay a donation to the city, that would be equal to what they would pay in taxes.

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A new Walmart is causing quite the stir in Pamlico County.

The town of Oriental announced a Walmart Express could be built just outside city limits on Highway 55. It's an announcement that sparked several people in the community to launch a "Stop Walmart in Oriental, NC" campaign.

"I truly think it's a bad idea. I can't imagine why anybody would want to be annexed as a business. You are giving it away for free and you have clout, you got a hammer and you're afraid to use. Yes I resent the action on the table today," said one concerned resident.

Mayor William Sage says the town has mixed reactions to bring the billion dollar retailer close to town.

"It's a mixed message. Many are vehemently opposed fearing that it will damage or close some of the small locally owned and operated businesses. On the other hand, I've talked to a number of folks that say I welcome it, I can't wait, [and] I'm glad they are coming," said Sage.

One of the people looking forward to Walmart coming to town, Teddy Green, who says the store, will bring much needed jobs to the area.

"It will bring jobs. People need jobs around here. We need some more money," said Green.

On Tuesday, the discussion of Walmart moved away for pros and cons and to the issue of water. Sage says Walmart approached the town asking for permission to tap into the town water system. After a discussion, board members voted to allow Walmart access to town water.

"We have given it to everyone else. I also think that there is a possibility that we could be sued because we have given it to Dollar General and we haven't given it to Walmart," Oriental Commissioner Larry Summers.

However the decision was later amended to include a portion that would ask Walmart to be annexed into the town after the store is complete.

The board will call a special meeting in the next couple of weeks to address Walmart's response and go from there.

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