Letter: Atascadero must become ‘partners’ with Walmart
–Now that WalMart has announced that they will not be coming to Atascadero what has to happen to promote the development of the WalMart portion of “The Project?”
Atascadero has to become “partners” with WalMart. Currently there are so many conditions and financial agreements in place I would think the property is not marketable as is. The greed must be eliminated.
I would suggest that the city try to work with WalMart by waiving all permit fees and costs and encourage them to go ahead and complete the grading that will be required to develop the property. A developed parcel will be a better marketable item. The owners of the Del Rio Marketplace may want to participate with the grading as they are in need of the excess dirt on their property.
With the grading completed, and WalMart out of any further development, the traffic analysis needs to be reviewed and the $5+ million dollars of improvements needs to either be eliminated or modified for whatever new use that the property will be utilized for. A new analysis with a different use and lower traffic count may eliminate the need for the Del Rio Fwy. off-ramp roundabouts and possibly the El Camino Real/Del Rio roundabout. If that were to occur the Del Rio Marketplace could start development if they choose to.
Recently the city has talked about drawing hi-tech businesses to town although there are no suitable parcels available to meet the needs of these businesses. This site may be a good location to develop a business park that would have a far less impact with future traffic conditions. This would bring the high paying jobs to town that everyone is talking about. These hi-tech businesses would also produce a significant sales tax revenue for the city.
I would hope that the city has learned a lesson from the WalMart experience and will actually promote businesses to come to town by initially granting financial relief and looking towards the long-term investments and returns that the city would receive.
Former Atascadero City Council Member and Mayor
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