Friday, September 21, 2007

Report Weighs Impact Of Wal-Mart Proposal

Report Weighs Impact Of Wal-Mart Proposal
By Ian Thompson

SUISUN CITY - A proposed Wal-Mart Superstore in Suisun City will create more traffic, but it won't create more crime, threaten Travis Air Force Base or kill other businesses, according to a draft environmental impact report released Thursday.

More than a half-dozen intersections around the superstore's site at Walters Road and Highway 12 need to be improved by the time the store opens, the 400-page document said.

If not, more cars using those roads to get to and from the store will mean longer waits at stop lights and turn lanes.

The retailing giant proposes building a 214,919-square-foot Superstore on the 20.8-acre triangular site located just north of Highway 12 and just west of Walters Road in 2009.

Wal-Mart also plans to build a sit-down restaurant and a gas station on the western and southern corners of the site, respectively.

Opponents of the store are dubious of the document's findings but said they will examine all the documents closely before making any public statements.

"I have just gotten a cursory look at it," said Dwight Acey of the Suisun Alliance, which opposes the store. "We have not had a time to go over it thoroughly, and we will take our time and go methodically through it."

Wal-Mart's impact on traffic will be especially felt at a half-dozen intersections around the site that will require improvements, according to the draft EIR.

The worst of those are five intersections along Highway 12 at Emperor Drive, Walters Road, Sunset Avenue, Marina Boulevard and Woodlark Drive; and two intersections on Walters Road at Air Base Parkway and Pintail Drive.

Suggested improvements mainly involve putting in additional turn lanes or extending existing turn lanes.

Wal-Mart's arrival would only primarily affect the city's other food and general merchandise stores such as Raley's and Rite-Aide, the report said.

The report estimated both stores would lose 16 percent of their business the year Wal-Mart opens and another 9 percent the following year, but it denied that Wal-Mart's arrival would force those businesses to close.

Such a drop in business for smaller food or general merchandise stores could cause them to close, the report said.

The report further denied that Wal-Mart threatened the existence of the base commissary on Travis.

The city's redevelopment agency stated in the draft EIR that Wal-Mart's arrival could attract customers from out of town who would patronize other local businesses.

This falls into line with the city's efforts to stop the flow of retail spending that Suisun City residents to do in Fairfield. The loss of that money to Fairfield would be fairly insignificant, the report said.

As for police and fire protection, the report stated denied either department would be significantly affected and that the store's security people would be a first line of defense in dealing with shoplifting, thefts and vehicle burglaries.

The draft EIR contends proposed Wal-Mart does not violate the Travis Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan, falling well within the restrictions that the plan sets out for that site.

Opponents stated the superstore would bring more people to the site than allowed by the plan and poses a threat to the base by encroaching on Travis.

Residents have 45 days to examine the draft EIR and submit written comments and questions to the Suisun City Community Development Department at 701 Civic Center Blvd, Suisun City, CA, 94585 or by e-mailing them to

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

How to get your copy of the Walters Road West (Wal-Mart) Project Draft Environmental Impact Report.
-- Copies are available for examination at the Suisun City Hall Community Development Department at 701 Civic Center Blvd., the Solano County Library at 1150 Kentucky St. or at
-- A CD of the report and its appendices can be purchased for $5.
-- A print copy of the report, which includes the CD, costs $75.
-- A print copy of the appendices can purchased from BPS Repographics at 427-1797. A black-and-white print copy costs $163, and a color print copy costs $309.

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