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Wal-Mart in Galt to see ban?

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:00 pm

The Planning Commission on Thursday tightened the language of and approved a proposed big box ordinance that could scuttle plans for a Wal-Mart in Galt.

The commission recommended that the ordinance ban stores larger than 120,000 square feet that devote 10 percent of their floor space to selling groceries, or non-taxable goods.

Wal-Mart has submitted plans to build a 132,000-square-foot store on Twin Cities Road that would include 19 percent of grocery space.

The commission's recommendation goes to the City Council, which will make the final decision in late October or early November.

The proposed ordinance originally called for a ban of stores larger than 140,000 square feet with 10 percent of grocery space.

After the meeting, a Wal-Mart spokesman said the company was disappointed with the recommendation.

"We weren't expecting this outcome today," said Aaron Rios, Wal-Mart senior public affairs manager. "Our current application would be out of compliance with this ordinance. The recommendation would prevent us from building a store identical to the ones we have in Elk Grove and Lodi."

Rios did not say whether Wal-Mart would scale back its proposal or abandon plans for a Galt store if the council adopts the ordinance.

"It's too premature to tell," he said. "We are looking forward to the City Council further reviewing and listening to the public comment. We will have to regroup with our team."

The commission scaled down the size limit and required that stores between 90,000 and 120,000 square feet obtain a conditional use permit, meaning their plans would fall under additional scrutiny.

The commission voted 4-1 to pass this new ordinance on to the council. Commissioner Sherry Daley dissented.

Commissioner Eugene Davenport said he doesn't trust companies like Wal-Mart.

"It's unacceptable that we are letting these corporations come in and tell us what they are going to do," he said. "It is our job to protect the citizens of Galt with smart planning."

Ann Ullrich, chair of the Galt Chamber of Commerce, presented the results of an informal poll of its member businesses. She said chamber members were split on whether to support the ordinance.

She said that those in favor of the ordinance, and opposed to big box stores, were worried that these types of businesses syphon off revenue from mom-and-pop shops.

• Stores of 120,000 square feet or more that devote 10 percent or more of their space to groceries, or non-taxable goods, would not be allowed.
• Stores of 90,000 to 120,000 square feet with 10 or more percent of grocery space would need a conditional use permit.
• The Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend the ordinance to the City Council.
• The council will vote to adopt the ordinance at its meeting on Oct. 16 or Nov. 6.
- News-Sentinel staff.

"The primary concern was the effects on local business," Ullrich said.

Members who wanted to see big box stores move into Galt said the stores would bring sales tax revenue for the city, according to Ullrich.

Before voting against the ordinance, Daley agreed that stores such as Wal-Mart could be an economic boon to the city.

"I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot to chase off a business that can provide some economic benefit," she said. "I don't see why we need to tie our hands and commit economic suicide here."

Voters in Lodi turned down an ordinance to ban big box stores in 2004 by a 60-40 margin. This paved the way for stores of unlimited size.

Wal-Mart has submitted a proposal to build a 226,000-square-foot Supercenter in Lodi. That project is currently undergoing a supplemental environmental impact report. A judge halted Wal-Mart's plans after Stockton lawyer Steve Herum sued on behalf of a local group known as Lodi First, claiming that the EIR was not sufficient.

Galt's big box ban will ultimately be decided by the council. Councilman Donald Haines, who along with Vice Mayor Andrew Meredith spearheaded the legislation, said he was comfortable with the commission's decision to tighten the store size-limits.

"I don't have a problem with what they proposed," Haines said, adding that he wanted to hear all the arguments before voting. "It's needed to create a balance, to maintain some diversity with the businesses in Galt."

Haines said Wal-Mart's proposed Galt store is secondary to the ordinance.

"The big box ordinance came before Wal-Mart came into the picture," he said. "I'm sure if Wal-Mart really wanted to come into the community, they would scale back to 120,000 (square feet)."

Contact reporter Matt Brown at mattb@lodinews.com.

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16 comments:

  • posted at 11:51 am on Sat, Oct 13, 2007.

    Posts:

    Working as a contractor on many Wally World projects, I've seen the negative impact they've had on adjacent neighborhoods. I don't mind a store in Galt, but God help those within a 2 mile radius.

     
  • posted at 5:40 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2007.

    Posts:

    I'm all for growth, just not for Wal-Mart! I'd like to know how many of the people who want a Wal-Mart in Galt are willing to live next to it? The parking lots are filthy, the store and the aisles are cramped. Their employees are allowed to park their motorhomes and trailers in the parking lot and spend as many nights as they like. Nice!

     
  • posted at 10:37 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    Galt needs some type of business that will keep residents in their own town, i'm sure that most other businesses would have no problem for what they cater.

     
  • posted at 10:12 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    Galt needs to wake up! They can not afford to fund the sewage treatment plant, the high school and where is the 3rd school, Jeffery T Jennings? It seems that crime is up the house values are down and the galt citizens should demand to know where their money is going. Galt needs more local tax revenue and Walmart is a start! I have a family of six and all my money is going to Lodi or Elk Grove because I do not have a decent place to shop.. Sorry folks Raley's doesn't cut it!

     
  • posted at 9:51 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    They are crazy to keep Walmart out of Galt. I go to Lodi to shop at Walmart, I never shop here in Galt. The prices are too high. So instead of bringing the tax revenue to Galt let's just keep taking it to Lodi..... smart..

     
  • posted at 9:24 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    OH im so sick of Galt Seniors not wanting growth...HOW many of you will be around in 10 years...I am so ready to sell and move to Lodi...

     
  • posted at 9:05 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    The problem is not that anyone wants to limit growth, the problem is Wal Mart. Crappy products, narrow isles, employees that dont want to be there because its a crappy part time job and the low prices attract the dregs. Do you want to live near that? If a nice upperscale center like the Kohls-Trader Joes at Franklin and Elg Grove blvd. center wanted to come in, then I would be all for it, but a Wal Mart....Ughh!

     
  • posted at 7:58 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    Without growth, a city will die. To the residents of Galt, please continue to drive to Lodi to spend your money at our big box stores.

     
  • posted at 7:34 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    MEREDITH, RABOY AND HAINES ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. THEY'RE NOT NO GROWTH, THEY'RE FOR RESPONSIBLE GROWTH. CLARE, PAYNE AND SHELTON WERE ANTI COMMON SENSE, SOMETHING THIS NEW LEADERSHIP IS NOT. EVERYONE I KNOW LOVES THE CHANGES GOING ON IN THE CITY. KEEP WALMART OUT, WE DON'T NEED THEM. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

     
  • posted at 7:31 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    I hate seeing people like 'tax base' call the three council members no growth. We are about to finally have a completed general plan so we can grow, something that would have never happened with Clare, Shelton and Payne still pushing to expand into lands that we'd get sued over. Don't forget that Meredith changed his ordinance to allow this smaller size WalMart plead their case instead of outright banning them. This was just a planning commission decision, the council will stick with 140,000 ft I'm sure.

     
  • posted at 7:12 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    Who cares about Galt anyway?

     
  • posted at 6:17 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    THE CITY OF GALT NEED TO STOP BUILDING NEW HOMES. WE NEED A WAL MART OR A TARGET. WE NEED SOMETHING NEW. ITS THE SENORS WHO DONT WANT NOTHING NEW. THEY WANT TO KEEP GALT THE SAME WAY.

     
  • posted at 4:54 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    the city of galt, dont see they need a wel-mart or a target. or something. they way behind on time. why does galt like to life in the past.

     
  • posted at 4:27 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    I ask myself what business or mom and pop business would a Wal-Mart in Galt hurt, We don't have any business in this town but Save-Mart, Ace and Rileys, What a hair and Nail Saloon, Pizza place, I don't think Denny's will close over Wal-Mart

    I like how this change in rules have played out, First change the public meeting to a morning meeting, Galts a bedroom community, That means 75 to 80% of the voting public is gone to work, Now that plays very nicly into our no-growth 3 city council members plans, Raboy, Haines and Meredith,

     
  • posted at 4:08 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    Please don't tell me Galt is being controlled by the grocer's union as well.

     
  • posted at 2:45 am on Fri, Sep 28, 2007.

    Posts:

    Well galt, looks like you just had a stealth tax increase. By not allowing Wal mart in, you are going to be paying higher prices. Just like the govt to stick it to the people....

     

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