Walmart addresses expansion opposition

November 19, 2011

Walmart has responded to opponents of its proposed 30,000-square-foot expansion with the submission of two 12-page documents provided to the Hood River City Planning Commission Nov. 15.

In the first letter, signed by Walmart's attorney, Gregory Hathaway, and entitled "Written Closing Statement," Hathaway addresses five key points of the opposition, making arguments and citing other legal cases to support an approval of the proposed 30,000-square-foot expansion now under consideration.

In the second document, prepared by PACLAND, developers for Walmart, specific issues of concern over current stormwater management practices, raised by opponents, are addressed.

Walmart takes on the heart of the opposition's case in section II of its statement. Hathaway, on behalf of Walmart, asks the question: "Did the planning commission approve an expansion of the store in 1991?"

In response, Walmart contends, among five other points, that the original planners did not expressly deny Walmart's request for the expansion. The company goes on to contend that normal procedure for a planning commission in denying a "portion" of any project, would be to expressly state that it is doing so in the "Decision" ruling.

Walmart also contends that the original planners would have had to adopt findings of fact and conclusions of law in order to support a denial for a portion of an otherwise approved project.

Walmart's rebuttal continued on, offering support to its claims of "vested" rights to expand, which pre-date the changes in zoning and limited permitted uses which now exist at the site, returning to a review of factors which "test" for "vested" rights.

Reviewing in detail the exact wording of its original agreement with the city, Walmart also laid out a case for the sale of groceries at the site, even though groceries were not listed in the commission's 1991 approval.

The entire 12 pages of the second Walmart rebuttal document were dedicated to addressing stormwater management concerns.

Both documents conclude that none of the opponent's arguments or legal citations are valid and that therefore the planning commission must rule in favor of expansion rights.

The commissioners have been provided copies of Walmart's rebuttals to the opponent-raised issues.

If it is determined that Walmart introduced new evidence in its rebuttals, another round of public comment will be triggered.

If no further public comment is warranted the commission will use the Walmart responses, existing public comment and historic documentation, to render its decision Tuesday after the commission meeting begins at 5:30.

With the recusal of commission chair Kate McBride, only six members of the commission will be voting on the ruling.

Public testimony will be allowed, but new evidence will only be considered if the commission deems that Walmart included new evidence themselves within its rebuttals.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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