Walmart delayed until Oct. 6

The Gardnerville Town Board is holding a meeting 4:30 p.m. Oct. 6 to reconsider a design review for a 152,495-square-foot Walmart Supercenter proposed for south Gardnerville.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the meeting has been delayed until Gardnerville's next regular meeting at the applicant's request.

On Sept. 1, town board members voted to continue the item after hours of presentation and debate, during which dozens of residents and business owners voiced opposition to the project.

The superstore, which will include a market, pharmacy and tire and lube center, is proposed for roughly 20 acres of commercial land along Highway 395, between Service Drive and Carson Valley Medical Center.

The Oct. 6 meeting will give town board members another chance to make an advisory recommendation on the design review before Douglas County Community Development makes a decision regarding the application. The county's deadline has been extended to Oct. 21.

Gardnerville resident Linda Kleiner said she's circulated petitions to other residents and more than a dozen Valley businesses. She said petitioners are requesting that studies be completed on the social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed Walmart, among other things, prior to approval of the project.

"Personally, I already have 70 signatures," she said on Thursday.

Kleiner also sent the petitions to planning and county commissioners, along with a report that analyzes Walmart's conformance to the Virginia Ranch Specific Plan. The report was authored by Jeff Codega, a conceptual planner who works for Scolari's Food & Drug Company.

"I don't know how it (Walmart) could have gotten this far when you read the analysis," Kleiner said.

Originally approved in 2004, the 226-acre Virginia Ranch development included more than 1,000 residential units and more than 20 acres of proposed commercial use.

In his seven-page analysis, Codega lays out several elements of the Virginia Ranch Specific Plan, many of which call for a village-like, main street-themed commercial development compatible with historic downtown Gardnerville. Codega argues that a Walmart Supercenter would clash with the design standards.

"Visually, the proposed Walmart will stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the character of development that the specific plan requires," Codega wrote. "The proposal clearly falls well short of meeting the specific plan's planning and design criteria."

Codega said the specific plan must be "followed substantively, or, it must be amended (with the associated required public hearings, noticing, etc. before the Douglas County Planning Commission and the Douglas County Board of Commissioners) to allow for the numerous and significant deviations that are now proposed by Walmart."

Mark Forsberg, attorney for owner/developer Sierra Nevada Southwest, couldn't be reached for comment.


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