Hearing canceled, no new date set

The July 31 hearing over Wal-Mart’s application for a Supercenter has been canceled until further notice.

Hood River County Senior Planner Eric Walker said the national retailer has asked for more time, in part, to address traffic concerns raised by the county’s hired consultant. In addition, he said the planning department would also like time to review any new information before it is presented to the Planning Commission.

The official request for an extension came last Friday from Gregory Hathaway, Wal-Mart attorney from Portland. That letter followed an informal request by the company earlier this month.

When Wal-Mart’s application was deemed complete on June 14, the clock began ticking on the 120-day review period. However, Walker said that time is now on hold and the added days until the next hearing date will not count.

He said the first public opportunity for citizens to verbally comment on Wal-Mart plans will likely take place in late August or early September. He said once that date is selected it will be well advertised to ensure citizens can make plans to attend.

At the upcoming hearing, both pro and con arguments will be heard and speakers will be given a maximum of three minutes for a presentation. If there is not enough time for the commissioners to listen to all oral remarks, Walker said the hearing will likely be continued to a second evening. Walker said written remarks, which are now being accepted, will be given the same consideration in the decision-making process as verbal testimony.

The central items under scrutiny are the compatibility of the project with the surrounding area, design details, building placement, parking, protection of natural resources, traffic, and support infrastructure.

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