The Southfield City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday against the retail giant's proposal after a six-hour meeting.
About 70 people attended the meeting. Many were opposed to the new store on Southfield Road at the site of a former church and school.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had requested that the 9-acre site be rezoned to allow the construction of the store.
Residents said they were concerned about excessive traffic in the area. Wal-Mart officials said they planned new traffic signals and other measures to ease congestion.
One supporter said redevelopment is important for the city's tax base.