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Santa Rosa Planning Commision to revisit permit for Coddingtown Target

By KEVIN McCALLUM

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Santa Rosa Planning Commission voted Thursday to reconsider the permit it granted for a Target

Gottschalks building at Coddingtown. (PD FILE, 2012)

store at Coddingtown mall, citing inaccurate employment information provided by a company executive.

The commission voted 3-2 to revisit its June 14 vote approving the permit for a 143,000-square-foot store on the site of the former Gottschalks building.

Commissioner Caroline Banuelos said she wants new jobs to be created in Santa Rosa as much as anyone, but felt the commission should revote based on accurate data.

“I really think that anytime you take a vote the information has to be accurate, otherwise, in some ways, it’s a tainted vote,” Banuelos said.

Commissioner David Poulsen said he thought taking another vote was a bad idea because it would delay a project seen as helping revitalize the aging mall.

“I believe this is just a barrier to getting jobs quickly into our community,” Poulsen said.

The decision means the commission will re-vote on the use permit at its July 12 meeting.

John Dewes, a Target regional development manager, apologized to the commission for giving it wrong information about the company’s full-time to part-time employment ratio.

At the previous meeting, Dewes told the commission 60 percent of Target employees are full-time. He made the statement to rebut a claim by Marty Bennett, co-chair of the Sonoma County Living Wage Coalition, that most of the 200 to 250 jobs at the new store would be part-time and 37 percent of employees would receive health insurance.

In fact, between 35 and 45 percent of Target workers are full-time, with the balance being part-timers, Dewes explained in a follow-up letter to the commission. He said he had “unintentionally inverted” the full-time and part-time figures.

“It truly was an inadvertent mistake,” Dewes said.

Bennett, who didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting, urged the commission in a letter to require a community impact report for the project to ensure the commission receives accurate and detailed information.

“We think this is a big victory for good governance. We can’t have good planning if we don’t have good information,” Bennett said.

Several business representatives, including contractors hoping to bid on the project, urged the commission not to delay it. Stephen Schofield, an executive with North Coast Bank, told the commission that Target would bring jobs that are “sorely needed in this community.”

Construction of the new store is expected to create 300 jobs, said Kirstie Moore, development manager for mall co-owner Codding Enterprises. She called the decision “very unfortunate.”

The project received final design review approval last week. The decision will further extend the approval process for a project the mall had hoped to begin work on this year, Moore said.

“Everybody struggled when Gottshalks closed its doors, and we have worked very hard with our partner to try and find a replacement,” Moore said.

The mall is co-owned by Simon Properties, the largest mall owner in the nation. Gottshalks closed in 2009 and the two-story building remains vacant. It will be demolished to make way for the Target.

The vote might have been different if all seven commissioners had been present. Peter Stanley, who was absent, had previously said he didn’t think the new information would have changed his vote. Commissioner Shaun Faber abstained from the vote.

Commission Patti Cisco joined Poulsen in voting against reconsideration, saying that while it was regrettable the employment information was wrong, it wasn’t “pertinent to our decision.”

Also voting for reconsideration were commissioners Curtis Byrd and Vicki Duggan.





10 Responses to “Santa Rosa Planning Commision to revisit permit for Coddingtown Target”

  1. Canthisbe says:

    Planning Dept Commissioners:
    Caroline Banuelos – (appointed by Marsha Vas Dupre)
    Curtis Byrd (appointed by Gary Wysocky)
    Patti Cisco – Chair (appointed by Ernesto Olivares)
    Vicki Duggan – (appointed by Susan Gorin)
    Shaun Faber – Vice Chair (appointed by Jake Ours)
    David Poulsen (appointed by John Sawyer)
    Peter Stanley (appointed by Scott Bartley)
    http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/communitydev/boards/planningcommission/Pages/default.aspx

    You don’t get to vote for Planning Commission members, but you do get to vote for the people that appoint them.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. GAJ says:

    Not every job is a “career” job, the economy NEEDS stepping stone jobs for younger people to build their resumes and basic job skills.

    I may have an MBA and run a small business for decades with hundreds of employees but in college I really appreciated being hired in a difficult economy back then as a part time bagboy at a grocery store.

    It wasn’t rocket science but it was an invaluable experience and my first “step” in becoming a productive participant in the economy.

    I had no desire to become a full time employee at Grand Union, but those that did were able to move up the ladder to responsible positions that paid fairly well and offered full benefits.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. John Reed says:

    Congratulations to the Living Wage Coalition for exposing the systematic lying that Target and other big-box wage exploiters use when selling their projects to communities. The statement by the Target rep that the mistake was a merely an “inversion” of the real numbers was laughable. That is yet another lie. Target routinely uses the inflated figures in their presentations, as witnessed in both Petaluma and San Rafael. That deliberate deception is standard operating procedure.

    I am amused by the craven gullibility of some of the Tea Party posters who endorse their own subjugation to the corporate agenda by stating that “any job is a good job” even if you still have to rely on food stamps and rent subsidies in order to amke on their sub-standard wages and non-existent benefits. This deliberate strategy of “Wal-Marting” the American work force by driving down the wage floor to Second World levels so that more money can be sluiced into the swollen bank accounts of the 1%. That’s why we’re in recession. It’s not because school teachers are getting paid too much money.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  4. Steveguy says:

    So people like bear and others want me or others to only hire ‘certain’ people’..

    Hey kids !!!! The ‘progressives want you to have NO job, yet alone a part-time one that you wished for !

    I wouldn’t mind taking on a part-time position. Got a job ?

    Oops, the City Council and Planning Commission says NO to JOBS !

    How sick is that ?

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  5. We Need More Jobs says:

    Blame Obama for the hiring of temps at Target. His Obamacare healthcare program will cost trillions of dollars. Employers are very concerned about hiring full time employees and having to pay for their expensive Obamacare health plan.

    Who can blame them? Obamacare is the biggest job killer Obama has thought up in his first term.

    Santa Rosa should be grateful Target is even considering opening a store in town and the “living wage” people don’t have to work there if they don’t like the pay.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  6. bear says:

    Go to the front of almost any zoning ordinance and you’ll see that their primary purpose is to “protect the public health, safety and welfare.”

    So it is legitimate for the PC to consider whether these jobs are McJobs or family wage jobs. Target’s rep admits he misled the PC on that issue.

    Then there’s the problem of legislative record. If the PC decides an issue on facts that were known, or should have been known, to be wrong, it leaves the decision wide open to court challenge. Hey, let’s make jobs for lawyers!

    The PC’s choice to revisit the decision is likely due to the need to bullet-proof it against future legal challenges.

    That’s the conservative option.

    Hey, I support the project!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  7. Barera X. says:

    The so called “planning commission” lacks skills to plan or decide anything. This is a perfect example of how government interferes with the job market and causes unemployment. It seems the Press Democrat lacks the ability to provide the resumes of those planners. What skills do they have?

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  8. Reality Check says:

    Canthisbe,

    As you confident that California’s law doesn’t, at minimum, have enough ambiguity in it to allow this sort of thing?

    I served on a planning committee in Oregon. Land use planning was originally justified, in part, to give all applicants a level playing field. Meet the zoning criteria and one’s project would be approved. Over the years, however, once clear guidelines became ambiguous, and local pols now have wiggle room to do practically anything.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  9. Que Sera says:

    Americans never get the true or real inormation from govt and never has. We didnt get in on Obamacare, we dont get it on the budget from local leaders and unions never tell the truth.

    We have gotten to this because the morals of the govt has been going down hill for decades and decades. I remember the newsreels of men rushing to the enlistment office after Pearl Harbor. Very few ran to them after 9/11 and few joined during Vietnam when compared to WW2.

    Many of our Congressman were veterans in the 1950s 60s, but no longer. There are fewer veterans in our govt.

    The point is the people just can trust govt, federal, state, or local. I would trust Target more than I would those in govt!

    Sorry but govt had done little to earn the trust of the people.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 6

  10. Canthisbe says:

    “The Planning Commission is charged with carrying out the purposes of California Planning and Zoning Law. Primarily this means that the Planning Commission implements plans, ordinances and policies relating to land use matters.”
    http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/communitydev/boards/planningcommission/Pages/default.aspx
    The Planning Commission is acting outside the scope of its authority when it basis its decisions of factors outside the scope of its purview. If the proposed project meets the requirements of the California Planning and Zoning laws, the Commission should approve the project.
    Property owners and businesses should not have to put up with the costs and delays of dealing with the personal whims of people on the Planning Commission. The BOS should replace the Planning Commissioners with people that will follow the law, not try to impose their personal views.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 4

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