Wal-Mart bait and switch

June 19, 2012


A day of reckoning is coming in Atascadero on the Wal-Mart/Annex project at the June 26 City Council meeting.

Multi-million dollar risks to the city’s businesses and residents are on the table. This will be your last chance to ensure the project is done the right way, and that your interests are served.

But, that way is not being planned and the consequences are very serious, as city staff recommendations and final EIR documents show. You’re about to get the shaft.

City staff is proposing, and the planning commission just approved, bailing the Wal-Mart/Annex project out of fully funding and building the required Del Rio Road / US 101 interchange improvements before opening for business, reimbursing them later for costs above their “fair share.”

Although widening that bridge could cost $11 million, the plan is to cap Wal-Mart’s expense at $1.3 million, and the Annex’s at $1.1 million, placing a potential $8.6 million burden on the rest of us.  The much-touted cheap ($4.5 million) roundabouts have no backing from Cal-Trans, contrary to the city’s assertions.

The plan is based on applying Wal-Mart-only requirements to the Wal-Mart/Annex project, or trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. The Wal-Mart-Only requirements were designed in case the Annex plan fell apart, after a feud between the two owners over paying for the DR/101 interchange improvements. But, a bank bought the Annex property and, now, city staff is adamantly advocating against approving the Wal-Mart-Only alternative.

But, in a bait and switch con job, Wal-Mart-Only requirements (square peg) are shoved by the plan into the Wal-Mart/Annex project (round hole). The plan shifts the burden of DR/101 funding and reconstruction from the applicants to the city and its businesses, homeowners and residents. Here are some of its components.

·      Prohibit any Annex business opening until after the DR/101 improvements are completed (while allowing Wal-Mart to open before then),

·      Cap Wal-Mart’s expense for cost overruns at less than $200,000,

·      Increase citywide traffic impact fees on businesses and homeowners,

·      Borrow money from the restricted user-funded sewer fund,

·      Delay other road projects by pushing the DR/101 interchange to top priority,

·      Shutdown the DR/101 interchange for rebuilding for a year after Wal-Mart opens, driving excessive overflow traffic elsewhere – a nightmare.

Your last chance to affect the plan is the June 26 Atascadero City Council hearing.  It’s speak up or shut up time.



  1. Slowerfaster says:

    O Man,…those
    ATASCADERO homies gonna REALLY love the WALJUNK Green Meat. , along with the E-COLI burgers !


    If you like Beef Jerky, you’ll LOVE their filet mignon !

    You can even fashion artistic sculptures from the cartilage strings you extract from your tooth !

    (-8) 10 Total Votes - 1 up - 9 down
  2. mbactivist1 says:

    Good article, David. This kind of nonsense is so typical in SLO County, where the taxpayers are continually forced to pay the cost of infrastructure to support development. Development never pays for itself, so the burden taxpayers carry just gets bigger and bigger.

    As usual, a few get rich while the rest of us get poorer. It’s the old “steal from the poor to give to the rich” philosophy. Why does this continue to happen? Look no farther than County and city government. Is SLO County really the most corrupt in the country? You betcha.

    What can be done? Throw da bums out! Take the time to become informed. Find out which elected officials are looking out for you, and which are not, and then work to make sure that, in the next election, the bad guys lose and the good guys win.

    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  3. Mr. Holly says:

    Well it appears that nobody cares about this.

    (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
    • Slowerfaster says:

      What a profound comment.. Hard to tell whether it’s ignorance or apathy.

      (-4) 6 Total Votes - 1 up - 5 down
  4. Black_Copter_Pilot says:

    Luck comes to those who work hard and are anyhing but prudent when it comes to caution.

    But, sometimes a tin hat fits too tight and, well, that’s when luck is needed.

    (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
    • Slowerfaster says:

      I am sure that you have relied on ‘luck’ most of your life.

      (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
  5. bobfromsanluis says:

    David, you have been characterized as someone really “out there” as an alarmist or an extremist about how Wal-Mart will usually attempt to force communities to pay and pay for Wal-Mart to build a store in a community. My hope is that Atascadero residents will realize that these costs you have illustrated are really what is going to happen if they do not voice their objections. I hope that the citizens will be listened to, regardless of which way the majority indicates they want the city to proceed; if a true majority of Atascadero residents want to have the citizens themselves on the hook for all of the expenses it will take to do all of the traffic mitigation in order for Wal-Mart to build, so be it, just don’t complain afterwards about having to pay the bill. Good luck to all of you.

    (21) 33 Total Votes - 27 up - 6 down

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