By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Placeholder Image
The Ceres City Council will take up the matter of the Walmart Supercenter on Monday but few insiders expect a final decision to be made then.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Ceres Community Center to continue considering the appeal of a Planning Commission approval of the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center with its anchor tenant of the Walmart Supercenter. The commission approved the project in April but a group calling themselves Citizens for Ceres filed an appeal.

Walmart company officials are expected to hand over a retenanting and sales strategy plan to deal with the existing Walmart store at Hatch and Mitchell which would be abandoned if the center is approved. Mayor Chris Vierra said he expects the Citizens group to ask for more time to review the strategy.

Vierra announced that he expects to conflict out on the Supercenter vote. The company for which Vierra works, StanTech Consulting civil engineering and land survey, is considering a contract with the Walmart Corporation.

"Legally it's a close call," said City Attorney Mike Lyions.

With one vacant council seat and Vierra out of the vote, the council would need a unanimous 3-0 vote to take action on the project, said Lyions.

Rules of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), he said, the appeal calls for the City Council to have to re-certify the EIR on the project even though the Planning Commission took that action. To recertify the EIR the council needs three votes. A 2-1 vote would fail to get recertification and without an EIR there would be no project.

It's conceivable that because of those circumstances that Walmart may push for a continuance until after the November election when a full council comes onboard.

Walmart seeks approval to develop the 26-acre shopping center at the northwest corner of Mitchell and Service roads with a 185,668-square-foot Supercenter that would sell groceries. Opening a new Supercenter would result in a vacancy at its existing store at Hatch and Mitchell roads. Besides the Walmart Supercenter, plans call for 10 other retail shops totaling 114,162 square feet, including three other major tenants and four smaller shops as well as a stand-alone retail building and two to three new restaurants.