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Wal-Mart in limbo for Ripon

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POSTED December 31, 2008 9:15 p.m.

RIPON — It looks like it’ll be at least another year before Ripon ever sees a Wal-Mart constructed in town.
Despite buying property just a stone’s throw away from where they originally wanted to locate, the retail giant has not moved forward with any official construction plans or submitted anything to the city’s building department for consideration.

The company withdrew its original plan to construct a massive SuperCenter after fierce community support – which included a town hall meeting where an organized residents group faced off against a Wal-Mart spokesman – eventually led to the passing of an ordinance that restricted the placement of the massive sites to only designated areas that fit tight criteria laid out by city officials.

The move to pass the retail ordinance came after City Attorney Tom Terpstra recommended against the approval of an “exclusionary” ordinance that would have flatly refused mega-sites like Wal-Mart to build within the city. It was something that has opened the door for lawsuits in communities like Turlock after they took the standoffish approach.

By laying out ground rules that the business has to follow if they plan to come to town, he said, the city can still maintain the standards they want to uphold and limit the location of such a large building that many argued would increase traffic and affect the overall quality of life in the quaint community.

And while construction of commercial properties has increased over the last several years, the parcel that Wal-Mart purchased after the initial site became ineligible after the passing of the ordinance because of its close proximity to neighboring houses, the company still hasn’t moved forward with any plans to make Ripon one of the many communities home to a Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

According to Ripon Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart, there has been no discussion about moving forward with constructing the original complex on the parcel or any redesigned projects that would fit within the parameters outlined under the ordinance.

Just recently the community welcomed in the Tractor Supply Company – the large agricultural dealer that hopes to break in to the South County market and cater to local farmers and ranchers within the ag-heavy area.

The business was built not far from the original Wal-Mart site.

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