|RP planners approve revised Walmart EIR on 3-1 vote
Next step is clearing city council
Rohnert Park's Planning Commission approved on a 3-1 vote a revised Environmental Impact Report from Walmart Inc., to expand their facility into a "super store" and be open 24 hours a day. The action took place Thursday evening, Jan. 24, in a packed city council chambers with extra spectator seating in the city hall lobby watching the telecast.
RP Planning and Building Director Marilyn Ponton's staff report favored acceptance of the revised Walmart EIR.
Planning Commissioner David Armstrong made the motion to approve the revised EIR with Gerard Guidice and Chairwomen Susan Adams joining him. Commissioner John Borba voted "no," and Commissioner Susan Haydon was absent. They also voted on two related resolutions dealing with architectural design and a sign program. Both of these votes were unanimous 4-0 approvals.
The public hearing started at 7:10 p.m. and was adjourned at 9:45 p.m. after nearly 40 speakers had their two-minute time slots. A majority of the speakers wore badges signifying their viewpoint, pro or con. Walmart proponents' badges merely said "Jobs." Foes had more ornate orange and green badges. An informal tally of the comments had 22 against Walmart and 17 in favor. A few speakers yielded their time slots so a fact-laden expert could talk for six minutes.
Borba said he expected the decision in Walmart's favor will be appealed to the city council. If the council accepts the planning commission's decision, the next appeal resource would be Sonoma County Superior Court.