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City to review HR Walmart expansion plans

Feb. 23, 2011

The City of Hood River planning department has received a full application for a proposed expansion of the existing Walmart facility at 2700 Wasco St.

According to Cindy Walbridge, planning department director, there is a 30-day window for internal review of the application prior to issuance of a return letter to Walmart, which will indicate either a complete or incomplete status of their application.

The application arrived on Feb. 14. Walmart announced on Dec. 29, 2010, a planned expansion and remodel for its 15-year-old store in Hood River which would add an additional 30,000 square feet of retail business space.

During the city planning department internal application review, and with advisement from the city attorney, criteria will be established under which a "complete" or "incomplete" determination letter will be issued.

"The public may fill out a public records request at the city planner's office if they wish to view the Walmart application," said Walbridge. "It can be reviewed at any time."

According to Walbridge, the city invites public comment throughout the review process. In addition to collecting public comments as they are received in the planner's office, scheduled public meetings or public notice in local media will also be conducted to keep the public informed.

In a city planning commission meeting scheduled for Feb. 22, the 2011 Transportation System Plan update, now under construction, will include presentations on potential impact of increased traffic flow resulting from Walmart's proposed expansion. Truck and patron traffic in the area is projected to increase substantially.

With two major failing intersections and interchanges in the area adjacent to the proposed expansion, specific traffic related criteria will be under scrutiny in relation to the application.

"We already have failures on our side streets which intersect Cascade Avenue," said Walbridge. The term "failure" here refers to documented increasingly unsafe lane entry or crossings experienced by drivers at impacted intersections.

The Walmart store changes will, according to a Walmart-issued press release, include a full-service grocery section, deli, bakery, pharmacy and optical center.

Walmart's press release also indicates that the proposed building plans will incorporate energy-efficient technology, such as LED lighting, recycled materials such as steel and plastics, a light-color roofing, fly-ash concrete, waste heat reclamation and automatic light-dimming system.

"We look forward to working with the city and community on remodeling this store," said Havener.

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