The Target Corporation had submitted an application wanting an exception to Turlock’s Big Box ordinance, banning discount superstores that exceed 100,000 square feet of floor area and devote at least 5 percent of the sales floor area to nontaxable merchandise, commonly referred to groceries.
Target wanted to expand the proportion of sales floor area devoted to nontaxable merchandise from 4.9% to approximately 8.4% of the sales floor area within the existing 136,800 square foot retail store in Turlock.
Before the Turlock Planning Commission could hear the request, Turlock Planning Staff had prepared a report including their recommendation for denial and just hours before the Planning Meeting, the Target Corporation reconsidered.
“David Henry, representative for the Target Corporation, transmitted an email to staff this afternoon withdrawing this application from consideration by the City of Turlock,” said Turlock Planning Manager Debbie Whitmore.
A planned development was requested to allow the project to have more than 5% of the total sales floor area devoted to nontaxable merchandise. Under current City zoning regulations, retail stores with centralized cashing that exceed 100,000 square feet of gross floor area and devote at least 5% of the sales floor area to nontaxable merchandise are not permitted in the Heavy Commercial (CH) zoning district. Approval of the planned development would allow the Target retail store to expand its nontaxable floor area beyond the 5% limit.
The City of Turlock Planning Staff was recommending denial of the project for sake of inviting future appeals from such stores as Wal-Mart.
A Special Planning Meeting took place on October 21, 2010 to review the options for regulating discount superstores in the City of Turlock and to listen to the community about what they think the City should do by request of the Turlock City Council. Two separate driving forces, the Development Collaborative Advisory Committee (DCAC) and Councilman Ted Howze, brought up the subject of revisiting the Big Box ordinance.
Community input was overwhelmingly against discount superstores in Turlock as all 10 public speakers, with the exception of David Fransen, disapproved.
On December 2, 2010, the Turlock Planning Commission denied to suggest to the Turlock City Council to revisit the 2004 Big Box ordinance, banning Discount Superstores that exceed 100,000 square feet of floor area and devote at least 5 percent of the sales floor area to nontaxable merchandise, commonly referred to groceries.
Furthermore, the Turlock Planning Commission denied supporting Commissioner Jeff Hillberg and Chair Mike Brem’s motion to at least study the impacts of a discount superstore at no extra cost while going through the General Plan Update.
The rest of the Planning Commission felt that it would open up a can of worms or would open the door for future discount superstore appeals to the Big Box ordinance. The Big Box ordinance held up in court against a lawsuit by Wal-Mart that cost the City around $400,000.
The Turlock City Council is set to review the Big Box Ordinance at the January 11, 2011 Turlock City Council Meeting.