>Brookings Oregon News, Sports, & Weather | The Curry Coastal Pilot

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

News arrow News arrow Business arrow DEL NORTE COUNTY GIVES WAL-MART SUPERCENTER THE GREEN LIGHT

Print

DEL NORTE COUNTY GIVES WAL-MART SUPERCENTER THE GREEN LIGHT

By Kelley Atherton

Wescom News Service

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. –The Del Norte County Planning Commission unanimously approved Wal-Mart's expansion to a Supercenter on Wednesday night.

The Board of Supervisors Chambers was a full house for a public hearing before the vote.

Some people said they feared the expansion would hurt other local businesses.

Others, including the manager and assistant manager of the local Wal-Mart, said the store was not going to affect businesses any more than it already has, and would provide more jobs.

Before the public hearing commenced, William Fleishhacker, an attorney representing Robert A. Karn and Associates, engineers for the project, detailed plans to add more than 81,000 square feet, doubling the size of the existing store.

He said that the Supercenter would add 130 jobs, 60 percent of them full-time, and donate $30,000-$50,000 annually to the local community.

Gregg Ottman, an architect on this project, presented a slide-show depicting what the expanded store would look like. Ottman, who designed the Supercenter, said it would have a "modern look" with earth-tone colors.

Planning Commission members said they'd like to see other options for the exterior design, which will require approval at a later date.

Environmental issues

After some discussion, Ernest Perry, director of the county Community Development Department, showed a map depicting the necessary 50-foot buffer between the expanded store and the Elk Creek tributary.

Eileen Cooper, representing Friends of Del Norte, said she was disappointed that options for a smaller expansion "were not entertained in a serious manner."

Grant Gruber, a project manager with Michael Brandman and Associates who conducted the EIR, said environmental impacts from the expansion would be "less than significant."

The property would be fenced off from the tributary to protect red-legged frogs (a threatened species), he said.

Cooper also mentioned that the expansion to a Supercenter would leave little room for Sutter Coast Hospital to grow.

"I'm concerned about the hospital being boxed in – no pun intended," Cooper said, which incited some laughter from the crowd since Wal-Mart is referred to as a big-box store. "There's no room for (hospital) expansion … Another grocery store is not needed."

Loss of businesses feared

Several residents brought up the point that there are already several grocery and pharmacy options in Del Norte. A bigger Wal-Mart could drive smaller stores out of business, they said.

Ron Cole said he likes Wal-Mart, but he is concerned that a Supercenter would drive out downtown businesses. There were a lot more businesses before Wal-Mart ever came to town, he said.

"I find this disquieting," Cole said, then suggested a study be done on how local businesses would be impacted.

"The EIR doesn't address the issues adequately enough," Cole said.

Jeremy Stafford said he remembered when there were lots of businesses downtown and now there are a lot of "for rent" signs in windows.

"I support Wal-Mart making money because it's America," he said. "What will it do for Del Norte, for us?"

Patti Pearcey, who owns The Bookcomber bookstore downtown, said she is worried about going out of business if Wal-Mart expands.

"I can't compete," she said about Wal-Mart's discounted books. "They'll have 250 books to chose from. They'll decide what you can have."

Pearcey said money going into Wal-Mart goes right out of Del Norte County. She also called for a study of how expansion would affect the local economy.

Kevin Loscotoff, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart in Northern California, countered that the Supercenter would benefit the community because it provides jobs that pay above minimum wage, with benefits. His main point was that Wal-Mart has the patrons to justify doubling the store's size.

"22,000 people visit the Wal-Mart here on a weekly basis – they're visiting with their feet to save their hard-earned money," Loscotoff said.

Robert Boucher, manager of the local Wal-Mart, said a Supercenter could draw more people to the area –adding that people from Brookings, Coos Bay and Eureka, Calif., already frequent the local store.

"In my opinion it would only enhance our community," Boucher said.

Planning Commission members each got a chance to comment before voting.

Commissioner Jack Reese said that while he's not a "corporate guy," he thought expanding to a Supercenter wouldn't affect businesses any more than they already are.

Chairperson Ellen Brown said that Wal-Mart is currently one of the only options in the county for affordable clothes.

"If Wal-Mart went out, there would be no place to buy jeans," she said. "There is a need. I'm not sure who would fill it if it did go out."

Print

Business News by Yahoo Finance

  • European bonds and stocks on the defensive before tight Greek vote
    Yields on top-rated German 10-year Bunds, the benchmark for European borrowing costs, fell as some investors chose to preserve their capital in low-yielding but relatively safe assets. The moves were marginal, though, as investors did not want to position too heavily on either side. "The European market is frozen ahead of the Greek referendum," said Markus Allenspach, head fixed income research at Julius Baer.
  • Tsipras dismisses Europe's warnings to Greece on vote
    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected European warnings that Greeks will be deciding on their future in the euro zone in a referendum on Sunday, saying negotiations would continue for a better deal with international creditors after the vote. In a televised address on Friday, Tsipras said a report by the International Monetary Fund which arguing that Greece's massive public debt could not be sustained without significant writedowns vindicated his advice to reject the lenders' terms. "On Sunday what is at stake is not Greece's membership of Europe, what is at stake is whether blackmail will lead us to accept the continuation of a policy which the lenders themselves recognize is a dead end," he said.
  • Aetna to buy Humana for $37 billion in largest insurance deal
    The combination will push Aetna close to Anthem Inc's (ANTM.N) No.2 insurer spot by membership, and would nearly triple Aetna's Medicare Advantage business. The deal will face antitrust scrutiny but if it goes through it would dwarf the previous largest insurance deal announced just this week, where Swiss property and casualty giant ACE Ltd (ACE.N) announced it was buying Chubb Corp (CB.N) for $28 billion.

Follow Curry Coastal Pilot headlines on Follow Curry Coastal Pilot headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use