RP planners revisit Walmart application for ‘super-store’
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By Jud Snyder  January 25, 2013 12:00 am

It was almost exactly four years ago (Jan. 21, 2009), when Walmart filed an application with the City of Rohnert Park to expand its Redwood Drive center into a “super-store” to include groceries, meats, fruits and vegetables in its merchandise offerings.

The city’s Planning Commission discussed the proposal Thursday, Jan. 24, in City Hall. Because the meeting occurred after The Community Voice went to print, details of the meeting can be found in the online edition at www.thecommunityvoice.com.

Walmart’s 2009 request drew an almost immediate response when Pacific Market, anchor store in the shopping center on Golf Course Drive, announced it was closing. Part of the blame was Walmart’s expansion plan, and public opinion was almost evenly divided.

Walmart’s expansion will be adding 32,000  square feet for food service and sales plus smaller expansions elsewhere inside.
The store has 131,532 sq. ft. now and will grow to 166,788 sq. ft.,  according to their plans.

In the intervening four years, most of the action took place in RP City Hall or in courtrooms.

On April 22, 2010, the planning commission denied Walmart’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) with a 4-0 vote.
Walmart appealed, and RP’s City Council overturned the commission’s decision, 4-1, July 29, 2010.

Then, the Sierra Club and Sonoma County Conservation Action filed a suit in Superior Court against the city council’s decision. On June 9, 2011, the Superior Court upheld most of Walmart’s EIR but said the parts about traffic management and roadway noise impact would have to be revised. This order was issued Feb. 16, 2012.

Walmart revised its EIR, and this document was on the agenda. Also included will be a mitigation monitoring program, site plan architectural review and sign program.

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