Rohnert Park Planning Commissioners have approved the environmental impact report aimed at adding grocery store inside Wal-Mart.
The decision, reached Thursday night, is a major victory for the mega retailer and something the company has been pursuing for four years.
Planning Commissioners voted 4-1 to accept the EIR on the project, which would add 35,256 sq. feet of commercial space to Wal-Mart’s existing store west of Highway 101.
"Currently there are no grocery facilities in that neighborhood," Marilyn Ponton told the Press Democrat, adding that residents in future developments in the area would need somewhere to shop."
Opponents criticize the chain for its low wages, saying that Wal-Mart does not allow workers to unionize and keeps them working part-time to avoid paying benefits.
But commissioners said criticism of the company’s labor practices were not relevant in the EIR, which addresses issues such as traffic, noise and economic impacts on a community.
According to Wal-Mart, the expansion will add 85 new jobs to Rohnert Park. But many worry that putting in a new grocery story in the neighborhood will mean the store previously occupied by Pacific Market will never attract a new tenant, according to the Press Democrat.
What do you think about the decision to green-light Wal-Mart’s expansion? Is this a good move for the community?