Walmart hits roadblock

Planning Commission denies supercenter plans

The Chico Planning Commission, against the advice of the city’s Planning Department, voted against approval of Walmart’s plans to expand its Forest Avenue store into a supercenter. Commissioners decided the adverse effects to the environment—traffic, air pollution, economic impacts—outweighed the positives the expansion would bring.

The commission first voted, 5-2, to deny the environmental-impact report and then, with the same margin, denied the store’s statement of overriding considerations. The decisions came last Thursday (July 30), following two previous meetings filled with community comment, both pro and con.

“I’m delighted, but it’s only the first step in a two-step process,” said Heather Schlaff, who heads up the group Chico Advocates for a Responsible Economy, which opposes the expansion.

Walmart PR manager Angela Stoner told the Enterprise-Record after the meeting that the store would appeal the decision to the City Council.