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The Atascadero City Council accepted the application of a developer to build a Wal-Mart at Del Rio Road and El Camino Real, giving the company its first step forward in a years-long contentious attempt to put a store there.

The vote was 4-1, with Mayor Mike Brennler, elected last year in a clean-government sweep motivated in part by issues associated with past Wal-Mart battles, voting to approve the project along with councilmen Tom O'Malley, George Luna, and Jerry Clay. Ellen Beraud voted against.

"I wanted to send a message to Wal-Mart and [the] Rottman [Group] that there's still work to be done and there isn't 100 percent support for this development," she said.

In its current form, the project is about 25 percent smaller than a 195,000-square-foot proposal that stalled last year.

"It's not a done deal," Brennler cautioned in an interview. "We have a ways to go."

As the project moves forward, Brennler said he'll look for assurances that Wal-Mart will be a "good neighbor" by paying for project infrastructure costs, creating a buffer from the surrounding neighborhood, and not expanding the project plans beyond the current size.

Oppose Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Comar said he wasn't surprised by the parking lot proposal council vote, but expects the process will point out the "dramatic adverse impacts" a store would have. The group is also pushing for a Nov. 8 ballot initiative that would limit grocery sales to 5 percent of the footprint of it and other large stores.

Readers Poll

Do you think the SLO County Board of Supervisors should have gone against their policy that states funding for independent special districts should not result in a net fiscal loss to the county?

  • A. Yes, the housing and job opportunity the Dana Reserve is bringing is important
  • B. No, it's giving special privileges to the Nipomo Community Services District
  • C. I trust them, they know what's best for the county
  • D. What's going on?

View Results

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