RED BLUFF PLANNING COMMISSION
Date of Meeting: July 12, 2005
Time of Meeting: 6:00 p.m.
Place of Meeting: Community/Senior Center
1500 South Jackson St.
Commissioners Present: Doug Dale
Commissioners Absent: Dan Irving (absent-excused)
Staff Present: Charlie Mullen, Planning Director
Susan Price, City Manager
Rick Crabtree, City Attorney
Gary Antone, Public Works Director
Michael Damon, Fire Chief
Al Shamblin, Police Chief
JD Ellison, Building Director/Official
Nik Reikalas, Parks & Recreation Director
Cheryl Smith, Deputy City Clerk
Chairperson Dale called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. and excused Commissioner Irving from the meeting due to a conflict of interest.
Commissioner Herring led the Pledge of Allegiance at the request of Chairperson Dale and the assemblage joined in.
A. CITIZENS COMMENTS
B. CONSENT CALENDAR
M/S/C Herring, Brink to approve the Consent Calendar.
AYES: Commissioners: Brink, Dale, Herring, and Winter
ABSENT OR NOT VOTING: Irving (absent excused)
1. MINUTES JUNE 28, 2005
C. CURRENT BUSINESS
1. PUBLIC HEARING TO RECEIVE COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR THE WAL-MART SUPERCENTER PROJECT 608 LUTHER ROAD; APN’s 033-180-08, 21, 26, 46, 47 AND 70; SCH NO. 2004012088
Charlie Mullen, Planning Director, presented a Power Point presentation regarding the DEIR. The store would include 198,786 sq. ft. of retail sales and 19,318 sq. ft. of space for a garden center. There are some street improvements that are lacking but improvements would be made by the applicant. He informed those in attendance that this meeting was to receive public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report only and that a public hearing would be held in September or October on the project application. He gave staff’s recommendation that the Planning Commission:
1. Hear the informational summary presentation by the Consultant.
2. Conduct the Public Hearing on the DEIR and receive all public comments and provide any additional comments on the DEIR to staff.
At this time Mr. Mullen introduced the two consultants who had worked on this report and those were Mr. Merle Anderson of Pacific Municipal Consultants (PMC) and Mr. Paul Miller of Omni Means.
Merle Anderson, PMC, gave a brief summary of the Draft EIR. He asked that any verbal comments made this evening also be sent to the City in writing so that they may be addressed and included and addressed in the final report. The document follows the guidelines required by the State of California. He explained how the surveys were done and that recommendations are given by the various consultant and/or agencies to different issues and/or impacts. The final EIR will recommend a monitoring program for mitigated measures to be sure that those are implemented.
Paul Miller, Omni Means, spoke regarding traffic issues. He stated that traffic impacts are looked at in many different ways, primarily AM/PM peak hours and the ease of driving. Several locations were found that the project will have impacts on and there are reasonable mitigations for those impacts. Traffic Impact fees are also collected to pay for improvements that are identified in the Transportation Capital Improvement Program (TCIP). The project would be required to install some offsite improvements, but infeasible requirement are the widening of Luther Road because of current development.
Mr. Mullen explained that the 45 day review period began on June 17th and would end on August 1st at 5:00 p.m.
Chairperson Dale opened the Public Hearing at 6:42 p.m. and requested that all speakers complete a speaker card so that names could be spelled correctly in the minutes and also if anyone would like to receive notification of future meetings regarding this project to check the box on the form.
Cheryl Brinkley, Red Bluff Daily News, requested clarification on whether Mr. Miller had worked on the Southside Neighborhood Study, which included a traffic study and whether this along with the proposed So. Main Street Interchange project proposed by CalTrans would aid in the traffic flow.
Mr. Miller stated yes he did, and yes the combined affect would help mitigate some of the traffic issues.
Lamar Bayles, Wal-Mart Employee, questioned whether the growth of the City to the west and south would warrant more retail stores.
Mr. Anderson stated yes, that not only to the west and south of the City, but north of Red Bluff as well. There were some Economic Studies done primarily on blights and vacant buildings. The EIR isn’t responsible to address the economic impacts. There is the potential that the local grocery stores could be impacted and that Wal-Mart is hoping to attract another retail store to fill their building when vacant.
Frank McCaughey, concerned citizen, expressed his concerns with the truck turn around on Reeds Avenue, the So. Main Underpass, whether or not a NEPA had been completed and stated that there had to be a better location for the store.
Mr. Anderson stated that the project was only subject to California agencies so a NEPA was not required.
Mr. Miller responded to issue with Reeds Avenue and Mill Street and the volume of trucks stating that the truck traffic will be in the evening hours and that there would be very few trucks per day. He stated that it is important that truck traffic has a safe access to the site. He also stated that traffic mitigations are identified to keep speeds low.
Mr. McCaughey stated that the Environment Impact report shows that truck would be going into the store at 10-11 p.m. and that this was a residential neighborhood.
Lance Hall, Wal-Mart Store Manager, responded that currently the store averages two trucks per day if increased it would only be to three trucks per day. Other deliveries are from smaller trucks such as Frito-Lay, Pepsi, etc.
Linda Walker, concerned citizen, stated that she was concerned with the infeasibility to widen Luther Road due to development, the traffic in the So. Main area toward the hospital which is currently a mess and asked that the Planning Commission think about the permanent influence this project will have on the community. She continued by asking that the Planning Commission look at the long term effect it would have on the community and asked that a better location be considered.
Shan Patterson, concerned resident, urged the Planning Commission and people responsible to do everything in their power to assist Wal-Mart with the project. The impact on grocery stores would only affect the ones that currently have problems.
Ken Close, concerned resident, stated that he would like to see road improvement to Luther and surrounding roads.
Bill Trapp, concerned citizen, stated that he saw nothing in the EIR regarding the Superstore in Anderson and the taking of millions of dollars from existing stores. He stated his concerns that if Wal-Mart sells groceries at less cost then Red Bluff would lose tax dollars.
Frances Smith, concerned citizen, expressed her concern with the businesses that had closed since the original Wal-Mart had come in and businesses that may close with the superstore project.
Lance Hall, Wal-Mart Store Manager, stated that several businesses did close but they were businesses such as K-Mart, Ben Franklin and Sprouse Ritz which had closed nationwide. He also stated that mitigated measures had been put in place to address traffic issues, except for Luther Road and Main Street.
Kathy Bonner, concerned citizen, express her concern with the train trestle on Main Street, which narrows traffic flow down and that she felt this was a bad location. She also expressed her concerns that Wal-Mart would have no butcher on staff and that the meat would not be fresh as it would be trucked in from Oklahoma.
Chairperson Dale closed the Public Hearing at 7:16 p.m.
Chairperson Dale requested Gary Antone, Director of Public Works/City Engineer, as to various improvements that were planned for the area.
Gary Antone, Director of Public Works/City Engineer, stated that currently staff is looking at road widening on South Main; overlay projects on Luther Road, Mill and Reeds Streets; road widening on Luther at the project site to allow for better access to the project, as well as signal improvements to allow right hand turning from Luther Road and signal modifications at Luther and Mill Street to allow for better access to the project site. He further stated that it is the intent to expand the railroad over crossing to four lanes, but this project did not trigger that expansion at this time.
Commissioner Brink commented that the Draft EIR was very professionally done and urged the public to review the document.
Mr. Anderson stated that the closing date for written comments was Monday, August 1st,, 2005 at 5:00 p.m. and asked that those who spoke at this evenings meeting to put their comments in writing so that they may be included and responded to in the Final EIR.
Mr. Mullen asked that comments submitted be related to the Draft EIR as staff can not respond to a comment as to whether or not the writer likes or dislikes the project.
Chairperson Dale stated that all written comments could be turned in at City Hall.
Mr. Mullen thanked those in attendance.
D. STAFF ITEMS/REPORTS:
Charlie Mullen, Planning Director, reported that at this time no projects were scheduled for the July 26th Planning Commission Meeting.
There being no further business Chairperson Dale adjourned the meeting at 7:26 p.m. to July 26, 2005 at 5:15 p.m.