Christmas came a few days early in Elk Grove, California, when a Wal-Mart supercenter fell off Santa’s sleigh and broke into tiny pieces. According to the developer’s press release, Angelo G. Tsakopoulos and Wal-Mart decided to withdraw their application for a proposed supercenter at Sheldon and Power Inn roads. This decision occurred after Tsakopoulos and Wal-Mart representatives met with community members, elected officials and local residents. Tsakopoulos said he was interested now in looking at alternative commercial uses for this site. Wal-Mart says it will continue to search for a store site in Elk Grove. “This is a prime example of community and business working together,” said Elk Grove Mayor Dan Briggs, who encouraged the groups to meet. “I commend Wal-Mart and Angelo for listening to the concerns of the community and am pleased Wal-Mart
will continue to explore other opportunities in the City.” “After a number of meetings with local residents and community leaders, we have decided to withdraw the application, but we still recognize that there is a strong demand for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Elk Grove and remain committed to serving those customers,” said a “Community Relations Manager” for Wal-Mart. The developer said his next proposal will be a “more neighbor-friendly scale.” The citizen’s group, the Elk Grove Coalition Advocating Proper Planning (EGCAPP) issued a statement thanking “the 4,000 plus supporters that have been behind all of our efforts.” The group met with the developer and Wal-Mart, and “was able to express all of the concerns of the community as to why this project is not appropriate in the existing 100% residential neighborhood.”
So what’s the real deal here? Does Wal-Mart have another location it is already working on? Since when does Wal-Mart heed local groups? Were they concerned that they didn’t have municipal official’s support for the project at that location? It’s clear that the Mayor wants his Wal-Mart. So EGCAPP better push for a limit on the size of retail stores soon, or they will be facing another battle sooner, not later. But for now, it’s the nicest gift Santa could bring. Plus its always nice to hear a developer admit that a Wal-Mart supercenter is not a neighborhood-friendly scale. For earlier stories about Elk Grove, search Newsflash by the city’s name.