Planning Commissioners OK Wal-Mart Expansion

Decision considered big victory for mega retailer and is said to add 85 jobs to Rohnert Park. But opponents worry about impacts on existing grocery stores and overall quality of life in town.


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."

Read the full article here

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?

John Lathrop January 25, 2013 at 07:09 PM
No other stores? Hello Safeway and Raley's? They put one of these in where I lived in Alabama and it drove out two other food stores near by and we were force to shop there or drive 15 miles to shop.
Susan Cummings January 25, 2013 at 08:04 PM
I grew up in the south, SuperWalmart is popular there. I would love to have one here. It is the most affordable way to get your groceries. If you are a Raley's, Safeway, or Oliver's fan, you probably won't shop the Walmart anyway. I can't wait for it to be open.
Lori Hanson-Borrill January 26, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Exactly! Safeway and Raley's employ people who make a living wage. They own homes in this town, homes that will go into foreclosure when they get laid off and replaced by the substandard wages Wal-Mart offers. RP already lost Agilent, then State Farm and our property values continue to perform far below every other town in Sonoma County. Now Wal-Mart will drive out even more real jobs--which is exactly their business plan for people who care enough to look it up. I'm thinking it's time to get out while I can. I've already got two drug dealers on my street and I supposedly live on the "good" side of town. I don't care to hang around trying to sell a house that's tagged with graffiti too.
Diane G January 26, 2013 at 04:03 AM
They just can't make a profit, they have to drive the competition into the ground. Enjoy produce from Mexico, Peru, and maybe China where there are no environmental regulations. I'll shop for grown locally and in the USA. Walmart is unAmerican
Reginald "Rex" Henderson January 26, 2013 at 04:39 PM
No grocery stores in that neighborhood? WTF! There are none in my "neighborhood" either, or in most of Rohnert Park and Cotati, which is why we drive to Raley's, Safeway, Grocery Outlet, Oliver's, Target (and in the past, Pacific Market). That is a ridiculous comment for a Planning Commissioner to make. It's time for people in thr Friendly City to take back City Hall.
Janette Brown January 26, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Yes poor Judgement Planning Commission...you buckled under the big giant Wall Marts pressure ! Just like the Casino that's is going in weather the citizens of RP wanted it or not. What bought you off Planning Commission? Did Wall Mart offer you a discount card ? Really like everyone has already said all the grocery stores in town now have to compete with this sub standard store! Good people will lose their jobs . People will flock to Wally world because they think they are getting a deal on food...but in reality they will be getting sub standard food with people working there for barley enough money to pay for their gas to get to work... I loved RP but now the future looks very grime indeed.
Ernest Giono January 26, 2013 at 05:38 PM
What we don't need is a super WalMart with a food department. Raley's and Safeway are just fine, and if you can afford it, Olivers. I would worry more about the new casino than I would another grocery store. We actually don't need either.
Lori Hanson-Borrill January 26, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I agree. And there's Food For Less and Grocery Outlet for folks looking for better deals. What people don't realize is when Wal-Mart drives these stores out of business, you have even more vacant strip malls (don't we already have enough?). Property values go down when the town looks vacant and undesirable. And for people who think Wal-Mart is just capitalism at it's best, study their business practices. They'll initially come in, under price everything in order to drive all the competition out of the area. Once they've monopolized the city, they bring prices back up to what you would have paid somewhere else. By that time, the choice to take your business elsewhere is gone. It's frustrating that people just don't get it. Or worse, they just don't care. Until, of course, they look around and wonder what happened to a city that used to be a nice place to raise a family.
David Huntington January 28, 2013 at 07:49 PM
It is quite apparent that Rohnert Park commissioners have sold out their constituents, again. First it was Station Casinos and now WalMart. These guys have got to be voted out of office. I think they have accrued enough ill gotten gains to retire.
Gravis February 02, 2013 at 09:17 PM
The full article said the "retired" lady on press democrat article says it will provide more employment for RP. REally, 85 more jobs Walmart will offer. AND Walmart DOESN'T EVEN HIRE INTERNAL employees to restock their shelves!! That's why the guy from Alabama that works for some company that WALMART HIRES TO RESTOCK SHELVES got CAUGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING; was BUSTED AT THE GOOD NITE INN MOTEL!! And the commissioners DOESN'T CARE HOW THAT MAKES THIS CITY LOOKS? Do they live up in the hills in Fountaingrove or Healdsburg so they can care LESS about Rohnert Park's safety?? Enough is enough. When will the people get AN ACTUAL SAY? Do we need to be communists (rob others of their hard earned money) for someone to listen??
Gravis February 02, 2013 at 09:19 PM
I agree with John, Diane, Rex, Janette, Lori, and David. How do we deal with these commissioners that are so called "representing" the citizens with our hard earned money? Even the coalition in Santa Rosa was able to fight off Walmart going in where their city is much larger?!?! And HELLO......Smart&Final is going to be on SR Ave., which isn't far from Walmart either. Stop attracting more SAnta Rosa families to Rohnert Park. THEY NEED THEIR OWN WALMART THERE, why expand our Walmart for THEIR CONVENIENCE??? I've seen the super center in Roseville and Morgan Hill (which are nice, a little more upscale neighborhoods) that got trashed since they turned INTO super center. So the produce is cheaper....REALLYYY??? THEY'RE LOW QUALITY PRODUCE THAT JUST SITS THERE AND ROT quickly!! WE NEED A QUALITY neighborhood super market, NOT ANOTHER CORPORATE CHAIN!!!


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