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Galt Walmart agreement reached

If City Council approves settlement with Galt citizens’ organization, big-box store will move forward

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Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:20 am, Tue Nov 15, 2011.

Construction of the Galt Walmart can begin under a settlement agreement made between the city and a group that has opposed building the store. It still requires Galt City Council approval, expected at tonight’s meeting.

Galt Citizens for Sensible Planning will dismiss its lawsuit if the city agrees to outside noise monitoring twice during the first year of Walmart’s operation. Members have also asked that minor site plan modifications be made, including additional landscape and a 15-foot increase in distance between the store and adjacent residences to the south and east.

Finally, under the agreement, Walmart will make a $10,000 payment to the organization’s attorney if the council approves the settlement.

If it is not approved, the parties will return to mediation and litigation will continue. It is estimated that the case would not be resolved until late next year if this happens, according to city officials.

City Manager Jason Behrmann said Monday that the city is pleased it was able to work out a settlement agreement that resolves the dispute and allows Walmart to build.

“Most importantly, we are excited for the benefits that the store will bring to Galt, including additional jobs, new retail sectors not currently available in the city and the additional tax dollars that will help to further improve the community,” Berhmann said.

Last month, officials sat down for a court-ordered mediation session with the group. Galt Citizens for Sensible Planning filed the initial lawsuit against the project last year, challenging a report on noise.

In 2007, Walmart proposed building a 133,000-square-foot store at the corner of Twin Cities Road and Fermoy Way. The City Council originally approved the project in April 2010.

Mayor Barbara Payne had not yet reviewed the entire settlement on Monday night, but she is glad that everyone was able to come to an agreement.

“It’s been a long time. The whole community has been waiting patiently for this to happen, and all the people I’ve been talking to have wanted it to come to Galt,” she said.

The new big-box store will provide employment including jobs for high school students and a place for residents to shop — something local politicians have been promising for years, she said. Local residents have complained that there is no place to buy basic items such as socks.

“They will have a place to shop that should cover quite a bit, socks and everything,” Payne said.

William Kopper, the attorney for Galt Citizens for Sensible Planning, could not be contacted before press time.

Payne approves of the plan to shift the location of the business so that it is not as close to the homes in the area.

“It’s a nice compromise. I’m glad that Walmart and everyone came to the table with an open mind and were able to come to a compromise,” Payne said.

Also tonight, the council is expected to:

  • Vote on the Parks and Recreation Department’s recommendations to increase revenue and attract customers to city businesses.
  • Make any necessary appointments on various committees and commissions.
  • Receive a report from Payne on the city’s strategic plan.

Open session begins at 7 p.m. in the Galt City Hall City Council Chambers, 380 Civic Drive, Galt.

News-Sentinel staff writer Maggie Creamer contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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1 comment:

  • Josh Morgan posted at 9:21 am on Tue, Nov 15, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    Does this remind you of anything that might have happened in Lodi? You may recall that when the Lowe's Center was being developed and it included a Winco grocery store there were all kinds of environmental issues raised. When Winco pulled out and the local attorney was paid off the environmental issues went away. Funny how things like that happen.

     

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