By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon council revisiting negative stance toward big box retail stores
Placeholder Image
RIPON — City council members in Ripon are going to revisit their “Big Box” store ordinance feeling its effect may have inhibited additional sales tax revenues.

It was two years ago that residents urged the city fathers to turn thumbs down on Wal Mart’s proposal to build a super store in the community near Highway 99  – a move that may be credited for placing the city general fund in a negative position in today’s down economy.

The tentative new position the city may take comes at a time when more severe budget cuts are on the table with possibly more reductions on the horizon for salaries and personnel.

Councilman Garry Krebbs said he wanted to take another look at the ordinance to make it a little more desirable and to increase the sales tax income for the city by welcoming development of the larger stores.  

“I’m not willing to sell my soul, but we need ways to get stores to move in,” he said.  “They are going to shop in Modesto and in Manteca – they are going to shop,” he insisted, asking why not in Ripon with increasing business here.

Councilman Eldon “Red” Nutt agreed saying it’s definitely something the council needs to look at again.  But, he lamented, the big box stores may just turn their backs on Ripon  and go on down the line,  because of what happened before in keeping the Wal Mart store from locating here.

“We are in an entirely different world right now,” interjected Councilman Charlie Gay.  “We are not a developer friendly community,” he said.

Gay said the city needs to diversify its revenue sources.

Council members were unanimous in the need to consider revising the ordinance and appointed Charlie Gay and Garry Krebbs to a committee to revisit the ordinance and to come back with their recommendations for change.
The property Wal Mart finally purchased is in the county area just north of the Flying J operation on Jack Tone Road, and located within the city’s sphere of influence.

As of December 2008 the retail giant had not moved forward with any construction plans or submitted anything to the city building department for consideration.  They obviously put any intention of building on hold and it remains in something of a state of limbo.

The firm had withdrawn its original plan to construct a massive SuperCenter following a community uproar that included a town hall meeting where organized residents faced off with a Wal Mart representative.  That movement led to the eventual passing of the ordinance that restricted big box stores to designated and somewhat restrictive areas within the community.

The city laid out definite ground rules that Wal Mart or other large stores would have to follow if they were to build in Ripon.  By doing so the council felt it could still maintain the standards that would least affect traffic flows and the overall quality of life in the quaint community setting.

With the initial site on Canal Drive having been deemed unacceptable due to nearby residential housing, the company then purchased the land on North Jack Tone Road.