Petitions aimed at stopping new Walmart store

  • By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:01am
  • Local NewsMonroe

MONROE — People want one more chance to try to get the City Council to change its mind about allowing Walmart to come to town.

Two petitions filed last week seek reconsideration of the development agreement which allows the store to be built at the N. Kelsey Street property.

The counc

il Tuesday night is scheduled to review whether there are legal grounds to reconsider. It can vote to accept the petitions or not. If the council accepts one or both, they will weigh the arguments from the people objecting. Then they must vote to either overturn their previous decision to allow Walmart, or to affirm it.

People who have been fighting Walmart are asking for reconsideration, saying there was an error of law or fact in the process. The burden of proof lies with the applicants.

Both petitions argue that Walmart’s proposed design is not allowed in the area, that public records were not made available in a timely manner and the city did not follow its own laws, among other things.

The city’s municipal code doesn’t allow a big-box store to come to the city, petitioner Diane Elliott said.

Elliott is a member of the Monroe Preservation Action Committee, which was formed to limit Walmart’s size. She has also given public testimony against the store in several council meetings.

Elliott said she is not against Walmart, but says the city cannot support it.

“At least bring it back to the planning commission,” she says. “That’s what they should have done in the first place.”

The second petition was also filed by other members of the committee, who say the development agreement was improperly consolidated with other applications, and that the hearing examiner should have made the decision instead of the council.

Mayor Robert Zimmerman said the city proceeded in accordance to its rules and regulations, had legal advice from the city attorney and the City Council was provided with information from both sides to make its decision.

“It is not only a legal matter. It is also a matter of professional opinion,” he said. “Our staff made the determination that the plan that was presented fits with the N. Kelsey plan.”

Walmart stands behind its design and believes it is in full compliance as well, spokeswoman Jennifer Spall said in an email.

The City Council approved the development agreement at its March 29 meeting and a week later, Zimmerman signed the agreement. Seattle-based real estate company Sabey Corp. paid $7.5 million in Dec. 14 for the site at the north side of the intersection between N. Kelsey Street and Chain Lake Road.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.

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