“Suisun City was built on the beauty of its environment, and the reason many of us live here…don’t let an Arkansas company destroy it for a few bucks!” That’s the challenge thrown down by a citizen’s group in Suisun City, California, a community that promotes itself as the embodiment of “the endlessly attractive California lifestyle.” But many residents in this city of 28,000 people are concerned about the endless over-development now threatening the city. “Our residents enjoy a small-town lifestyle and sensibility,” the city boasts — but projects like a Wal-Mart supercenter could change all that. A proposed Wal-Mart supercenter located along a section of Highway 12 known locally as “Blood Alley” has residents’ blood boiling. The proposed site is only 3 miles away from a Wal-Mart supercenter in Fairfield, California that has been approved, but which is under litigation. The Suisun Alliance and the Suisun Citizens League, which both have organized to stop the supercenter, said yesterday that Wal-Mart could have a major impact on Travis Air Force Base, and even result in its closure. According to documents penned by Travis AFB and Solano County officials, the Wal-Mart location may threaten the air force base, which employs over 14,000 residents and contributes more than $1 billion to the local economy. The Solano County Airport Land Use Commission has charged that the Wal-Mart project violates the airport’s Land Use Plan, because the store would allow too many people per acre to the base. “We are adamantly opposed to the encroachment on Travis,” said Dwight Acey of Suisun Citizens League. The League released an email written by the chairman of the Airport Land Use Commission, charging that the Wal-Mart will be in the flight path to Travis Air Force Base, and could lead to a disaster if a plane approaching the field ever hit the crowded superstore. The airport’s Land Use Plan only allows a maximum of 300 people per acre in the so-called “Zone C” where the Wal-Mart would be built. “It would seem clear that a Wal-Mart at this location would easily exceed this limit,” the Chairman of the Land Use Commission wrote. “This Wal-Mart location is gaining momentum, and it concerns me.” Suisun officials are concerned mainly with their tax base, and claim they need a Wal-Mart to stem the flow of sales tax leakage. “We need this economically, we all know that,” the city’s Community Development Director told News 10. “We’re not for or against the project as far as environmental concerns or planning.” The public position of the Travis Commanders so far is that they have no specific concerns about the Wal-Mart — at this point. But they reserved their right to comment after the project’s environmental impact report is completed. Citizens groups also warn that serious traffic problems already exist along Highway 12. “Blood Alley” got its name because the road has had nearly 800 collisions with 492 injuries and 18 deaths in four years, according to the Daily Blaze. Nine people have died in Highway 12 car accidents in the past 18 months. A Wal-Mart supercenter could add more than 12,000 car trips a day to the existing congestion. “We have had multiple fatalities in March alone along Highway 12. That shows how bad that stretch of highway is around here. If you bring in 30,000 extra cars on that same highway a week, according to projections, you’re going to have more accidents,” said Dwight Acey of Suisun Citizens League.
Suisun City says on its official website that the community has “embraced the promise of the future by not forgetting the distinctive small-town qualities that makes the City one of Northern California’s most distinctive communities. Using the pedestrian-friendly philosophy of New Urbanism and the architectural styles consistent with our history, Suisun City has created a unique, vibrant historic downtown and waterfront that has become a national showcase.” The Mayor boasts, “We continue to build on our vision and success in recreating the bustling, old-fashioned town of Suisun City’s heyday. There are many unique opportunities for those wishing to be a part of this exciting environment.” A huge Wal-Mart supercenter is simply incompatible with this vision. The Suisun Citizen’s League says Wal-Mart is not going to fly into Suisun City. “They’re not going to stand idly by while Wal-Mart comes and rapes our community,” said Acey. “They got a fight on their hands and I think they’d be better if they just moved on.” “This is not a question of Wal-Mart, but about encroachment on Travis AFB. The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter is the wrong development, in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Paul Greenlee of the Suisun Alliance told the Daily Blaze newspaper. The Allliance is urging the public to call or email city council members. Mayor Pete Sanchez can be reached at 707-421-7356, or email the Mayor at [email protected] Tell the Mayor “A Wal-Mart supercenter has nothing to do with Suisun’s distinctive small town character. In fact, it will kill your New Urbanist dreams.” For more background, go to www.suisunalliance.com.