Opinion » Letters

It's your last chance to speak up about Walmart




A day of reckoning is coming to Atascadero on the Walmart/Annex project at the June 26 City Council meeting. Multi-million-dollar risks to the city’s businesses and residents are on the table. This will be your last chance to ensure the project is done the right way, and that your interests are served.

But that way is not being planned, and the consequences are very serious, as city staff recommendations and Final EIR documents show. You’re about to get the shaft.

City staff is proposing, and the Planning Commission just approved, bailing the Walmart/Annex project out of fully funding and building the required Del Rio Road/U.S. 101 interchange improvements before opening for business, reimbursing them later for costs above their “fair share.”

Although widening that bridge could cost $11 million, the plan is to cap Walmart’s expense at $1.3 million, and the Annex’s at $1.1 million, placing a potential $8.6 million burden on the rest of us.

The plan is based on applying Walmart-only requirements to the Walmart/Annex project, or trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. The Walmart-only requirements were designed in case the Annex plan fell apart. But in a bait and switch con job, Walmart-only requirements (square peg) are shoved by the plan into the Walmart/Annex project (round hole). The plan shifts the burden of DR/101 funding and reconstruction from the applicants to the city and its businesses, homeowners, and residents. Here are some of its components:

• Prohibit any Annex business opening until after the DR/101 improvements are completed (while allowing Walmart to open before then)

• Cap Walmart’s expense for cost overruns at less than $200,000

• Increase citywide traffic impact fees on businesses and homeowners

• Borrow money from the restricted user-funded sewer fund

• Delay other road projects by pushing the DR/101 interchange to top priority

• Shut down the DR/101 interchange for rebuilding for a year after Walmart opens, driving excessive overflow traffic elsewhere—a nightmare

Your last chance to impact the plan is the June 26 City Council hearing. It’s speak up or shut up time.

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

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