SAVE ATASCADERO MAY UPDATE-WM EIR PUBLIC MEETING SET

May 22nd, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

SAVE ATASCADERO

(FORMERLY OPPOSE WAL-MART) UPDATE

May 21, 2012

Contact us at info@opposewalmart.com or go to

opposewalmart.com or saveatascadero.com

P O BOX 1524, ATASCADERO CA 93423

(Please notify us of email address changes)

Editor:  Lee Perkins

VIEW PAST SAVE ATASCADERO UPDATES, AT

saveatascadero.com WEBSITE

THE PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC MEETING ON THE FINAL WALMART EIR (FEIR) IS:  TUESDAY, JUNE 5 (Primary Election Day–exercise your right to vote and then come to the meeting)

CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS AT 6:00 PM.  Come early for a seat!

1. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Town Hall / Study Session – May 24, 7:00 PM, Atascadero Library Community Room.

2. ARE TAXPAYER FUNDS TO BE USED TO FUND WALMART DEVELOPMENT?

3. ATASCADERO NEWS AND THE TRIBUNE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CONTRASTING HOW THE CITY SAYS THEY WILL PAY FOR THE WM DEVELOPMENT

___________________________

1. Town Hall / Study Session – May 24, 7:00 PM, Atascadero Library Community Room.

The City Council has refused to conduct a public study session on the PRDEIR, as requested, leaving Atascaderans less capable of making informed comments on the proposed project.  So, we are holding a Study Session to explain the stunning differences between the DEIR and the PRDEIR and more.

The City says the PRDEIR (Partially-Reciculated Draft EIR) will be the subject of a Planning Commission public hearing on June 5 in City Council Chambers at 7:00 pm.  (Watch our Save Atascadero Website–the City could change the date and/or time of the meeting.)

Shortly thereafter, the City Council will conduct a public hearing on the PRDEIR.  If both THE PLANNING COMMISSION AND THE CC approve of the PRDEIR’s analysis of potential impacts and measures to ameliorate them, the process will proceed to FEIR certification and issuance of permits.

Research by residents and comments to the PRDEIR by the Center for Biological Diversity, The Air Polution Control Board and a land use lawyer have found the PRDEIR to be severely deficient.  We have serious concerns with the City’s explanations about funding road improvements which are grossly misleading.  (please see letters to the editor below).

Come out May 24 and join us at a Town Hall / Study Session at the Atascadero Library Community  Room at 7:00 pm.  BE INFORMED ABOUT HOW THIS DEVELOPMENT WILL AFFECT YOUR CITY

We will present facts and have a Q & A following the discussion.

  • Basic information (including DEIR and PRDEIR references) and engage in discussion about what our options are.
  • Arm ourselves with the facts and engage in the democratic process of determining how our town is going to deal with consequences of this development.
  • At this point, the issue isn’t so much whether one is pro- or anti-Wal-Mart.  It’s more about whether rational decision-making will prevail as we move forward.

2. ARE TAXPAYER FUNDS TO BE USED TO FUND WALMART DEVELOPMENT?

The May Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Business Reporter had a report on the Walmart/Annex Project.  Their Legislative Committee sent a list of questions to the City Staff and the report lists the questions and answers.  Under “How will the City Fund any shortfall?”  it was reported, “The City has options to cover any funding gap on the interchange improvements.  One option would be to borrow internally from another restricted City account that has a surplus.  This is allowed under State law and would be repaid as future TIF’s are collected.  Ultimately, this will be a Counci policy decision.”

This fund will likely be the Sewer Maintenance Fund which has a balance of ove 10 M$’s.  The City would borrow from this fund and pay interest to make up what the City will not be getting from the Annex which did not sell this month and is still owned by the bank.  The Annex is years away from providing any TIF funds.

In the following Viewpoint in the Tribune, Wade McKinney, City Manager, states:

“Together, the Walmart and Annex [the Annex is no longer a viable option and parcels are up for auction in this month] projects would be responsible for 53 percent of the traffic impact at the interchange, or $2.4 million.  The remainder of the cost, $2.1 million is the responsibility of the city and could be paid for out of existing and future Traffic Impact Fees (TIFs) by developers (not taxpayer money).”

3. ATASCADERO NEWS AND THE TRIBUNE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CONTRASTING HOW THE CITY SAYS THEY WILL PAY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT

Atascadero News, Letter to the Editor

4-25-12

Broadwater Calls out McKinney on Figures

Atascadero business people and taxpayers – Beware!

If you believe the City Manager’s claim the city will get about $4.9 million from

the Wal-Mart/Annex project for the Del Rio/101 interchange roundabouts, you’re in

for a very rude and expensive awakening.  In fact, the city will receive about $1.3 million from Wal-Mart for those roundabouts, leaving the rest of us on the hook for about $3.2 million of the estimated $4.5 million cost.

To fabricate his false assertion, Mr. McKinney includes about $2.3 million in fees

from the non-existent Annex project, and about $1.7 million in fees Wal-Mart will

contribute for other (non-Del Rio/101) road improvements in the city. He made

this phony case twice: to the City Council on April 10 and in his April 13 “News

from The City” column, so it’s not just a mistake.

Mr. McKinney claims, “the projects will contribute approximately $4,887,000 to

the city’s TIF account. The city would use this money to fund the interchange

improvements.” Here’s how did he concocted that number:

Regarding special TIFs (Traffic Impact Fees designated for the Del Rio/101

roundabouts), he states, “The special TIF would cover the project’s proportional

shares of the interchange costs, roughly $2,388,000.” That includes the nonexistent

Annex’s TIF of $1,095,301 and Wal-Mart’s TIF of $1,292,798 (total

$2,388,099).

Regarding standard TIFs (for city-wide roads), he states, “the projects will pay a

standard TIF of $2,865,000.” That includes the non-existent Annex’s TIF of

$1,166,536 and Wal-Mart’s TIF of $1,699,220 (total $2,865,756).

Mr. McKinney is falsely inflating project proponent TIF contributions for the Del

Rio/101 roundabouts by a total of $3,961,057, including $2,261,837 from the

Annex that’s gone belly-up, and $1,699,220 from Wal-Mart not designated for the

Del Rio/101 roundabouts.

Mr. McKinney’s fabrications were about the “Wal-Mart only” PRDEIR (Partially

Re-circulated Draft EIR), from which all the above figures are derived (see 3.11

Transportation, page 3.11-29 on the city’s website). Public comments on the

PRDEIR will close on April 30.

So, the business community and taxpayers in town are left with a $3,207,202

million burden as an unfunded liability for the estimated $4,500,000 million cost of

the Del Rio/101 interchange. And, we won’t know what the actual costs will be until

Cal-Trans either approves the roundabouts, or requires more expensive rebuilding

of the overpass.

It is highly irresponsible for the City Manager to disseminate such disinformation,

and for the City Council to allow him to do so.

David Broadwater

Atascadero

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/05/03/2052711/viewpoint-city-managerdistorting.

html

SLO Tribune

5-3-12

Viewpoints: Costs of Walmart/Annex in Atascadero

City manager distorting costs of Walmart/Annex

David Broadwater

Atascadero business people and taxpayers, beware!

If you believe the city manager’s claim that the city will get about $4.9 million

from the Walmart/Annex project for the Del Rio/Highway 101 interchange

roundabouts, you’re in for a very rude and expensive awakening.

In fact, the city will receive about $1.3 million from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for

those roundabouts, leaving the rest of us on the hook for about $3.2 million of the

estimated $4.5 million cost.

To fabricate his false assertion, Mr. McKinney includes about $2.3 million in fees

from the nonexistent Annex project, and about $1.7 million in fees Wal-Mart will

contribute for other (non-Del Rio/101) road improvements in the city.

He made this phony case twice: to the City Council on April 10 and in his April 13

“News from The City” column, so it’s not just a mistake.

Mr. McKinney claims “the projects will contribute approximately $4,887,000 to

the city’s TIF (traffic impact fees) account. The city would use this money to fund

the interchange improvements.”

Here’s how he concocted that number:

Regarding special TIFs (Traffic Impact Fees designated for the Del Rio/101

roundabouts), he states, “The special TIF would cover the project’s proportional

shares of the interchange costs, roughly $2,388,000.” That includes the nonexistent

Annex’s TIF of $1,095,301 and Wal-Mart’s TIF of $1,292,798 (total $2,388,099).

Regarding standard TIFs (for city-wide roads), he states, “the projects will pay a

standard TIF of $2,865,000.” That includes the nonexistent Annex’s TIF of

$1,166,536 and Wal-Mart’s TIF of $1,699,220 (total $2,865,756).

Mr. McKinney is falsely inflating project proponent TIF contributions for the Del

Rio/101 roundabouts by a total of $3,961,057, including $2,261,837 from the

Annex that’s gone belly-up, and $1,699,220 from Wal-Mart not designated for the

Del Rio/101 roundabouts.

Mr. McKinney’s fabrications were about the “Wal-Mart only” PRDEIR (Partially

Re-circulated Draft EIR), from which all the above figures are derived (see 3.11

Transportation, page 3.11-29 on the city’s website).

So, the business community and taxpayers in town are left with a $3,207,202

million burden as an unfunded liability for the estimated $4.5 million cost of the Del

Rio/101 interchange. And, we won’t know what the actual costs will be until

Caltrans either approves the roundabouts or requires more expensive rebuilding of

the overpass.

It is highly irresponsible for the city manager to disseminate such disinformation

and for the City Council to allow him to do so.

David Broadwater has lived in Atascadero since 1972 and has been following city

government for several years.

Editor’s Note:

Given the importance of this issue, we offered the city of Atascadero the opportunity to respond to criticisms about the funding of the Walmart/Annex traffic improvement raised in David Broadwater’s Viewpoint. With Broadwater’s permission, we shared

his Viewpoint with city officials so that they could more fully address his concerns.

Note that together, the special interchange fees paid by Wal-Mart and the Annex

equal $2,388,099, or 53 percent of the high estimate for the construction of the

interchange roundabouts.

Let’s Clarify the Project’s Costs to City, Taxpayers

By Wade McKinney

The Walmart/Annex project consists of 260,460 square feet of retail uses and 50

residential dwelling units. There are two commercial components of the project: a

129,500-squarefoot Walmart store with two freestanding pad buildings and The

Annex with 120,900 square feet of commercial uses.

Public hearings on the Del Rio Commercial Area Specific Plan (Walmart/ Annex)

will begin in June. The Planning Commission and City Council will both hold public

hearings on the Environmental Impact Report and the proposed Specific Plan. In

order to facilitate a productive public dialogue, it is important the public

understands the fundamentals of the traffic mitigation proposal.

The EIR has identified a significant impact to the Del Rio Road/Highway 101

interchange as a result of the project. Roundabouts are proposed as a cost-efficient

traffic mitigation solution. The cost of building the roundabouts is $3 million to $4.5

million. The city is using the higher $4.5 million estimate to calculate project fees.

Under state law, projects are only financially responsible for their “proportional

share” of an off-site facility such as a freeway interchange. Together, the Walmart

and Annex projects would be responsible for 53 percent of the traffic impact at the

interchange, or $2.4 million. The remainder of the cost, $2.1 million, is the

responsibility of the city and could be paid for out of existing and future Traffic

Impact Fees paid by developers (not taxpayer money).

The developers will pay their share of impact through regular and special

Transportation Impact Fees.

In addition, Wal-Mart will install $1.9 million in street improvements along El

Camino Real and Del Rio Road. The issue of traffic fees and proportional share is

rather complex and can be confusing. Here is a summary of the proposed traffic

fees for the project:

Walmart

• Special Interchange Fee, $1,159,923.

• Standard Traffic Impact Fee, $1,443,414.

• Credits for road improvement to be completed by developer ($333,912)

Walmart total: $2,269,425

Annex/Residential

• Special Interchange Fee, $1,228,176

• Standard Traffic Impact Fee, $1,422,342

• Credits for road improvements to be completed by developer ($32,529)

Annex total: $2,617,969.

Total developer traffic fees: $4,887,394

What happens if the Rottman Group fails to develop the Annex? The fact remains

that the site’s proximity to Highway 101 and a new Walmart store makes it

extremely attractive for future development.

If Walmart is approved, we believe development at the Annex will occur. While

there may be a period of time that the city’s Transportation Impact Fund (TIF) (fees paid

by developers, not tax dollars) fronts part of the interchange prior to development

of the Annex site, the risk may well be worth it. Not only will members of the

community get the much-needed shopping and restaurants they have long desired,

there will be significant jobs and tax revenue as a result. The fiscal consultant for

the EIR estimates the combined Annex/Walmart project will generate net income of

$530,000 annually for the city.

Wade McKinney is the City Manager of Atascadero.

Note:  This last paragraph brings up questions:

  • With no Annex in the near future, yes there will be a period of time (years) the city fronts part of the interchange prior to development of the Annex site.
  • “The risk may be well worth it.”  Do you agree?
  • “much needed shopping”  Eight miles north of Atascadero are numerous shopping entities.  Within the city itself, we have 4 major grocery stores and 2 discount groceries not counting Trader Joe’s in Templeton.
  • What restaurants will come along with WM?  Will we have more drive throughs?  At this point there are no full scale restaurants interested in either the WM/Annex sites.  And, we now have 4 upscale restaurants in town and many small diverse eating opportunities.

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