Moving on Walmart
I’ve lived here in Atascadero over 70 years, and it appears to me that since we incorporated, it’s taken five times as long to get things done by our city than it did in the ’50s and ’60s, when we had to ask the county for permission to mow the lawn.
My question is, when are we going to get moving on Walmart? I’ve been watching this for a while now, and it seems to me that they have done everything: made all the twists and turns requested of them and answered all the questions (maybe more than once) asked. Now it’s time we had a place to shop! With the price of gas, I resent having to drive to Paso Robles or SLO to buy.
It’s time to finish this up.
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It’s no wonder people have such disdain for government. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley; it seemed like every time a new section of asphalt was laid, two weeks later workers came alone with jack hammers and dug a trench through it.
Atascadero is considering a similar thing — building a multimillion-dollar roundabout to accommodate increased traffic for the proposed Wal-Mart without knowing if it will be adequate. It’s absurd to think the existing bridge will accommodate the demand future plans will put on it. How shortsighted to build only what is necessary to allow Wal-Mart to open and force future business to bear the burden of additional construction.
As long as Atascaderans are going to foot the bill for the lion’s share of the project we should demand a lasting, useful interchange that will allow easy access for residents and customers.
If City Council members insist on ignoring what’s best for Atascadero, they should be held liable for future costs, even if they are long gone. Those who ignore the need for sunlight by failing to request a complete EIR and Caltrans report leave the door open to suspicion. Please do not become Wal-Mart’s lapdog.
The Atascadero Wal-Mart saga is rapidly coming to a close. Tonight, the Planning Commission and later, the City Council (June 26) are poised to recommend and certify the state-mandated Environmental Impact Report.
However, there is one overriding issue that may either scuttle the project or cost the city, future businesses and taxpayers an astronomical amount if the final EIR is certified as is.
This potential stumbling block is the proposed Del Rio interchange traffic improvements and how or who should pay for them. The original draft EIR was very clear: The Del Rio interchange improvements are required only because of the impact of the project on the interchange and that Wal-Mart and The Annex developers were responsible for funding them.
After Wal-Mart reneged on its promise to pay for all traffic mitigations and the Rottman Group (The Annex) refused to pay, the city intervened. In a new partially recirculated draft EIR, the city agreed to pay the lion’s share of the cost to meet Wal-Mart’s demands and schedule.
However, that cost is unknown. The actual cost can only be determined after a Caltrans project study that may take a year to complete.
The Planning Commission needs to do due diligence and refer the EIR back for recirculation to determine the actual costs of the project. Playing financial roulette with city funds is too high a risk to pay for a new shopping experience from which the profits will far exceed any sales tax benefit for the city’s general fund.