In a 3-2 vote this week, the Rosevile Council upheld the city staff’s determination that the proposed Twin Lakes Wal-Mart store is permitted under the city’s zoning code.
The council this past Monday night (July 16) rejected two appeals from Karen Schaffer, a city council candidate, and from SWARN [Solidarity of West Area Roseville Neighbors], a citizens group representing more than 60 Roseville households that opposes the proposed discount store.
Council members Tammy McGehee and Tammy Pust cast the dissenting votes.
“The goal of ensuring that mixed use development is cohesive, compact and pedestrian-oriented cannot, by definition be true with respect to a 160,000 square foot facility and associated parking,” Schaffer wrote in her appeal filed earlier this month.
Schaeffer and members of SWARN presented their arguments to the council Monday evening and, during a public comment session, some proponents of the Twin Lakes Wal-Mart spoke.
Phil Gravel of Roseville said he would be happy to shop at the proposed Wal-Mart.
“There are a lot of people like me who support this project but people like me don’t necessarily show up at meetings like this,” he said.
The council agreed with the argument, put forth by Wal-Mart consultants Kimley-Horn and by city staff, that the store offers “everyday goods” and should qualify as a community business, permissible under the city’s zoning code.
“The zoning code quite clearly demonstrates that retail use in general and Wal-Mart use in specific is permitted,” said Pat Trudgeon, Roseville’s community development director.
Mayor Dan Roe spelled out his thinking in the meeting, telling how he used the city’s comprehensive plan to gain a fuller understanding of the zoning code.
“I [originally] thought of these types of stores as a regional business but, as I’ve thought more about it, I think it is more important to call them a community business, and that tells me that they are allowed in a community mixed use area,” Roe said.
Council member Jeff Johnson agreed with Roe and said he “support[s] the findings of staff” but declined to elaborate on which specific sections of the staff’s report he found convincing. Roe implied that this failure to detail his thought process was a “cop out.”
Pust and McGehee did not agree that the proposed Wal-Mart would be a community business.
In the zoning code “regional business specifically says ‘freestanding, large-format stores,’ community business does not,” Pust said.
A final decision on the proposed store is expected at this coming Monday’s council meeting.
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