Another big box store is coming to the North Coast Business park and while the application stops short of using the "W" word most people recognize that long talked about location of Ameria's largest discounter to the north coast is looming a big step closer with a public hearing scheduled for Thursday evening at the Community center.
The City meets public outreach criteria with the following item published on the City Of Warrenton website:
"The Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing Thursday, 10/25/12 at 6:30 pm in the Community Center (173 SW 3rd St.) to review a site plan application for a 153,500 sq. ft. retail store. The Public is invited to attend and testify. The application and staff report may be reviewed in the Planning Department. at Warrenton City Hall. Copies may be purchased for a fee. Call Skip Urling for more information at (503)861-0920"
Walmart often faces significant opposition when planning construction of "Superstores" in communities across the country and in rare instances abandons those proposals rather than face questions about the company's operational policies and the impact they have had on the smaller communities in which they tend to locate. The size of this project is in line with the usual size of a Walmart store and the elevation drawings reflect a good representation of a typical Walmart retail building even though the signage on the drawings read "Retail Signage"
Warrenton city staff had suggested to the city commission that the review of the application be essentially taken away from the purview of the Planning Commission by hiring a hearings officer to review the lengthy form and render a decision. The Planning Commission strongly objected as did the City Commission which apparently came as a surprise to City Manager Kurt Fritsch and Planning Director Skip Urling who ,reportedly, had already lined up an individual for that job.
KAST news reviewed the lengthy application and it was curious that the city planning department included criteria for residential, industrial and commercial development. The applicant responded to those residential and industrial standards as "not applicable" to the project and the staff review agrees in each case.
The planning commission public hearing will only deal with the land use statues and standards that apply to the development and the Planning Commission Chairman, Paul Mitchell, may gavel down other comments regarding Walmart business practices and policies as not applicable to the planning commission consideration or he may choose to hear the comments at the commission's discretion.