Wal-Mart land issues approved without argument<br>

Everyone who attended the Dec. 16 meeting of the Winslow Planning and Zoning was expecting a fight.

But the commission unanimously approved a lot split, general plan amendment and a rezoning preparatory to location of a Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Winslow with no one voicing opposition.

The three issues now will go before the city council on Jan. 25 for a public hearing and final approval.

On each of the three agenda items, Commissioner Bonnie Garrett opened a hearing to allow all proponents to speak, followed by opponents and then a rebuttal by proponents.

Speaking in favor of the proposal to grant a lot split to Leonard Campbell of land with Manufactured Home-Multi Family Zoning, Campbell said he originally had planned to convert the rangeland to multi-family manufactured homes, but the shifting market conditions and nearby developments made that impractical.

He said it now makes better sense to make the split and sell the land to Wal-Mart for its proposed Supercenter.

In answer to a question from Commissioner Marsha Juergens, Campbell said he doubted he’d be doing anything with the remaining land in the parcel very soon.

Next to speak was Jeff Hancock, owner of the CA-TY car sales near the Wal-Mart property.

Hancock said for the city not to clear the way for the Supercenter would be “suicide.”

Then City Attorney Dale Patton, who had delineated the ground rules for the hearing asked whether any of the more than two dozen people attending were Wal-Mart employees.

Wal-Mart employee Dar Black spoke briefly and noted by a show of hands that 13 Wal-Mart employees were present and all favored the three agenda items.

Eloise Despain also spoke in favor of the items, saying that the Wal-Mart pharmacy always tries to find programs that allow her price breaks on the many prescriptions she has to take as a senior citizen.

No one spoke to oppose the lot split.

On the other two items, no one spoke in favor or opposition. After each item, the commission voted to approve it unanimously.

Commissioners John Smith and Chip Cunningham were absent and excused.

City Planner Jane Zukowski said the matter next goes before the city council for hearings and approval.

If the council approves, some other procedures remain. The lot split must go to the county assessor and county recorder.

The city also will have to combine the Graham parcel with current Wal-Mart property and other property Wal-Mart is acquiring to establish one parcel for planning purposes.

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