Should Walmart become a Supercenter?

Powegians get candid with Patch on their thoughts.

Walmart’s proposed plan to expand their into a Supercenter, which would include the addition of a meat department, fresh produce, deli and bakery, has raised questions from community members on the environmental and economical impact the additional 40,000 square feet of sprawl would have on the city.

Since the City Council has tentatively scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 23 to discuss these concerns, we hit the streets to find out how Powegians feel about the proposed expansion. 

Healthy competition, lower grocery prices, convenient shopping all in one place and the creation of more jobs were the common responses from those in favor of the idea.

On the other hand, those against the expansion feared it would put smaller shops out of business and create excess traffic and noise.

Click and watch what your neighbors had to say and then tell us how you feel about Poway’s Walmart becoming a Supercenter in the comments below.

Michele Ulrich August 11, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Excellent points and I couldn't agree more!
REALITY CHECK August 11, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Hey PATCH --- Why were none of Wal-Mart’s residential neighbors interviewed in your video? These folks have many serious concerns about the negative impact on their quality of life if the expansion is approved. And why did you not include an interview with Joe St. Lucas who is the head of Poway’s NO-WE group (anti-Wal-Mart expansion group with over 800 members)??? By the way….. Of course PATCH is going to get a bunch of pro-expansion interviews when several folks on your video are regular Wal-Mart customers on their way in or out of Wal-Mart’s doors. Duh!!! Also, I would bet most of your interviewees in front of Poway Wal-Mart are not even Powegians. Studies have shown that 85% of Poway Wal-Mart’s customers do not live in Poway. Sadly, my conclusion is that this is not a well-thought out or well-balanced video covering all angles of this important Poway issue. Whatever happened to good ol’ fashioned journalistic standards? I thought PATCH was better and smarter than this...... Apparently not.
Ben Neill August 12, 2011 at 04:09 PM
How do you know those were not neighbors of Walmart? When I lived in the apartments by Walmart, all of our neighbors supported Super Walmart because we knew we could save money due to all of our household incomes were tight. I also had unemployed neighbors who were hoping to be employed by Walmart when they expanded.
Nick Stavros August 12, 2011 at 06:49 PM
There is no problem with Walmart expanding, just do it in the industrial park where it is appropriate. What happens if Walmart decides that for their own reasons in 2 years that they want to leave Poway and go to Ramona, Poway will be stuck with a large scale building that won't be easy to rent, lease or sell. Look at the old Mervin's store in Carmel Mountain Ranch, it has been empty for 3 years. Where the current Steinmart and Home Goods, store are now in Poway was a K-Mart that stood empty for 5-6 years. Walmart is one of the largest companies in the world and they can afford to move to the industrial park and compete with all the other very large stores. If they can't compete, so be it.
REALITY CHECK August 12, 2011 at 08:03 PM
TO BEN NEILL -- I appreciate and respect your concerns regarding unemployed and low income folks in Poway. Their ranks are growing every day in our community. However, why should Poway give up many higher wage jobs with good benefits (which will surely happen if/when the proposed SUPERCENTER puts Von's and possibly also Stater's out of business) and replace these with minimum wage jobs at Wal-Mart? This makes no sense for Poway. Also, this creates an endless cycle of low wage employees who then rely on government-provided food stamps, government-provided low-income housing and government-provided health care services. Wal-Mart is well known for handing out application forms for these government services to new employees -- as a routine procedure. There are smart business analysts who see this as Wal-Mart's basic "business plan" --- Wal-Mart pays as low a wage as possible (with minimal benefits) in order to keep prices low for customers. Unlike most businesses (including grocery chains) who take on the financial responsiblity of providing decent living wages, full health care and other benefits to their employees, Wal-Mart opts to shuffle this reponsibility onto the backs of tax-payers. Who else did you think pays for all these government-provided services? Wal-Mart simply needs to start paying its employees a decent living wage with decent benefits. Besides, no one needs to save a few pennies on a bag of stale snack items (mostly made in China) that badly.
Tom Roebuck (Editor) August 12, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Patch appreciates the comments on the proposed Supercenter. The video was shot outside Henry's, Vons, Stater Bros and Walmart, canvassing passers-by for their opinion. The video should have identified Kevin McNamara, we regret not doing so. Thanks for reading Patch!
Tom Yarnall August 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM
REALITY CHECK, I really don't have a comment about your absurd assertions, but did want to warn you that it may be best if you stay away from the area the day Wal-Mart starts taking applications for the expansion, should it be approved. You may get trampled by the many low or no income citizens who are desperate for work so they may feed their families and maybe have some of the extras we treat as being common. You may want to have a round of golf and dinner at the RB Inn that day or maybe go do your shopping at Nordstroms. Tom Yarnall
Nick Stavros August 13, 2011 at 12:57 AM
Tom, Walmart has set the stage for expansion as ... the only way to do it is to do it the way Walmart wants to do it!! ... There are alternatives, and these are what is supposed to be discussed during the EIR process. Walmart wants to do it on the cheap (for them that is). They want to be able to expand right where they are and NOT have to pay the actual cost of the impact to the City of Poway taxpayers. The traffic impacts alone will require the widening of Twin Peaks and require more traffic lights along Twin Peaks and Community Roads ... This does not improve the quality of life of Poway residents, it simply leads to grid lock, noise and congestion. Walmart MUST consider moving to the Industrial Park, then they can have all the stuff they want. Walmart simply does not want to have to compete with real super stores like Costco, Home Depot or Kohl's. By moving to the industrial park, people will still get jobs if that is the concern. Remember, an EIR is not suppose to consider economic considerations, simply environmental considerations ... Bottom line, will the super-sizing of Walmart be advantageous to the environment, neutral or a negative.
Nick Stavros August 13, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Unfortunately for Walmart, I have not seen any advantages or even neutral impacts from the super-sizing, only environmental negatives. That is all that an EIR is suppose to determine, period. Adding lots of smoke and mirrors about jobs is not appropriate, it is not the intent of the EIR. You may disagree with this, but then go back to 1970 and the Republican President Richard Nixon and argue with him and all the supreme court decisions since then that have upheld EIRs and what they are suppose to contain.
REALITY CHECK August 13, 2011 at 02:38 AM
TO TOM YARNELL --- Since you have no comment regarding my so-called "assertions", I assume that you have no intelligent (read: fact-based) rebuttal. Regarding your snarky remarks: I do not play golf, dine at RB Inn or shop at Nordstrom's. Believe me, I have had many lean days in my life and am truly sympathetic to the plight of so many decent hard-working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet right now. Thus, I have no doubt you are correct that there will be many job applicants at Wal-Mart's SUPERCENTER -- as there would be for any business expanding in Poway (or anywhere else). I do not "hate" Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has a right to grow their business. However, disrupting the quality of life for an entire neighborhood 24/7 with traffic, noise, delivery trucks at all hours and increasing the crime rate in the core of South Poway is a very self-serving and selfish way to run a business. Most rational, fair-minded business owners faced with the ongoing barrage of opposition and neighborhood concerns that Wal-Mart faces with its Poway site would have cancelled their expansion plans long ago. After all, part of running a good business is being a good neighbor. But "rational thought" and "fair-mindedness" have never been part of Wal-Mart's business plan. I agree with Nick Stavros' comment above. Rather than disrupting a neighborhood, Wal-Mart should relocate their proposed SUPERCENTER to the South Poway Business Park. This is the place for big box stores.
Tom Yarnall August 13, 2011 at 05:05 AM
Nick,I admit I am not well versed, as you, on the workings of the EIR. I have not fully read the Wal-Mart report, but understand all negative factors are easily mitigated and the expansion will have an insignificant impact on our way of life despite the emotional, and somewhat baseless, concerns of those against the proposal. The report was given to the City Council and they and their staff have studied it, with public input.and now will have an up or down vote on the merits of the proposal. I understand the final stage of that process is occurring on Aug 23 and with no major surprises a vote may be taken then. There will, once again, be public input before the vote and anyone with concerns should be there and give input to the council, whether for or against the proposal. I would suggest they have data to support their assertions and to challenge the report conclusions.. I am not aware of the impact Richard Nixon had on the EIR process. Are you saying that if the expansion is approved it’s Nixon’s fault? Are you sure you can’t trace it to a framer of the Constitution? I will give you the last word. Tom Yarnall
What's up? August 13, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Mr. Yarnell: What’s up with the superior, uncaring “LET THEM EAT CAKE” attitude? The many SUPERCENTER objections of those with the NO WE (NO ON WAL-MART EXPANSION) group and other Powegians are quite valid and well-documented based on many other SUPERCENTER sites and data. Your ill-informed remarks indicate that you do not live anywhere near the Poway Wal-Mart site and your lack of concern for South Powegians’ quality of life is disturbing – to say the least. Just because you do not live near the Poway Wal-Mart site and will not be personally impacted does not mean those who do live nearby have “baseless” concerns which are “easily mitigated” – as you claim. Why do you think an extensive EIR report is required prior to City Council approval of this large proposed expansion? So, Mr. Yarnell,…… since you see no potential problems or negative impacts with living next to a huge 24/7 commercial monstrosity, I suggest that Wal-Mart place their SUPERCENTER in YOUR neighborhood. I am certain you and your neighbors would enjoy the 24/7 convenience of walking to your lovely neighborhood SUPERCENTER for all your shopping needs.
Tom Yarnall August 13, 2011 at 06:34 PM
What's up?, you are correct. The only real data I have was gleaned from a report by a third party group of professionals who have no dog in the fight. They thoroughly studied the proposal, compared the effects to environmental law and made conclusions. If you disagree with those conclusions, and have data to back it up, I encourage you to make your voice heard at the upcoming meeting on Aug. 23rd. If the council should approve the measure, and you are still not satisfied, I would encourage you to work hard during the next election cycle to make sure those who voted for it don't get re-elected. By the way, we only use Wal-Mart as a convenience store. Our groceries are bought at Von's, Stater Bros,Albertsons and Costco. Clothing and other necessities are purchased at various stores except Wal-Mart. Prescriptions are filled at Albertson's. We will probably continue our routine, but reserve the right to shop where ever we please. I believe free markets and competition are the engines that drive innovation, product development and productivity which leads to more choices and lower prices resulting in a better life for all. Don't grip your steering wheel too hard as you pass Wal-Mart. I give you the final word.
What's up? August 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Mr. Yarnall: Wal-Mart’s proposed expansion, EIR study and EIR report process has already taken over three years. The EIR report has been sent back to Wal-Mart and their consultants multiple times for revisions, further study and additional work. Even a casual observer can see that the proposed SUPERCENTER is completely incompatible with its neighborhood surroundings – as it is surrounded on three sides by homes and apartments. Dealing with the additional SUPERCENTER traffic alone is a huge obstacle in the already traffic-congested core of South Poway. Clearly, traffic and other obstacles will not be “easily mitigated” as you stated in your previous comment. Even the final EIR report indicates that overall impacts will not be “insignificant” --- as you also stated. However, even with all the local residents’ objections and overall environmental evidence in the EIR report against it, most likely the illustrious Poway City Council will vote in Wal-Mart’s favor anyway. The “good ol’ boys” on city council always tend to vote in lockstep and Mayor Higginson already stated long ago that approval for the expansion is a “slam dunk”. It would be amazingly great, in my opinion, if -- just once -- Poway’s City Council would vote to protect the quality of life in South Poway instead of continually selling out South Poway to “the highest bidder”. But, sadly, if past council history is any indication, this is not likely to happen.
Tom Yarnall August 14, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Whats up? ,please allow me one last comment. Should the proposal be approved, I certainly believe the quality of life will be changed for a vast number who live in the immediate area. I believe with the saving they get from shopping for low cost groceries at Wal-Mart may allow many of them some of the luxuries most of us routinely enjoy. I certainly don't have any data to support my assertion and it would be interesting if someone would take a survey of the apartment dwellers and ask them if they would be willing to sacrifice a bit more traffic and noise for being able to walk across the street for low cost groceries. A sample of about 20 would probably be enough to establish a trend. It would be easy to do. Just stand on the street opposite from the apartments and ask the many people, some pushing baby buggies, as they cross the street to go shopping. I think most would opt for low cost groceries. Do you?
Nick Stavros August 14, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Walmart EIR expansion has nothing to do with jobs, period! Nor does it have anything to do with perceived or actual lower cost to groceries, period! These should not be considered during the EIR process by the submitters, reviewers or the approvers, period! The EIR process is about environmental impact and quality of life that results from development, period! If the approvers (i.e., Poway City Council) consider these things in the assessment of of the impact, then the EIR is fatally flawed and can and most likely will be challenged in court. The City is hard pressed to minimize the traffic when for 20 years they have said we can't have granny flats because it would impact traffic. They continuously have declared that all the major roads in Poway have failed for congestion reasons so they could obtain more money from SANDAG and the State to "improve" them. Now, to just decide that they are "ok" probably won't hold up in court either.
Joe St. Lucas August 15, 2011 at 01:07 AM
The report is out for the meeting on the 23rd, and the city considers that there are no problems with anything, no noise, no traffic, no environmental, etc. Consider that the perceived lower cost of lower quality groceries will be offset by anyone who takes their cars there now for tires, oil changes, batteries, as this will be gone, forcing us to go to jiffylube, or (heavens forbid), get us all to change our own oil. Mr. Nick, when walmart first went in, WE THE CITY paid to have lights put in for walmart ($740K, about $1.5M in todays money) since walmart refused to do it. Now we're going to pay 2/3 of an intersection upgrade of unknown cost? What other $$$ measures do you see the city paying for that walmart should do? Also, does anyone really believe that adding an extension to the left turn lane will fix the congestion problem on Poway Rd? Right now we have 35K car trips/day. Walmart will add 2K, and LOWES will add 8K on weekends. That's an extra 10K car trips/day on an already congested road, increasing the overall traffic by almost 1/3! The walmart deir was supposed to cover the increase from lowes in their traffic estimates, and the city says "no problem", a bigger turn lane will fix everything.
Joe St. Lucas August 15, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Also, the argument that "walmart owns the land, they should be able to do what they want with it", isn't good. If you, the average homeowner, wanted to enlarge your house, especially into setbacks, you can't do it w/o the city's blessing and possibly a hearing before the city council.
Tom Yarnall August 15, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Joe, Thank you for the info. Having worked in the San Fernando Valley for years probably gives me a different perspective about traffic than you. I believe we are far from grid lock with or without Wal-Mart. As to the number of vehicles,With 8000 trips per day for Lowes and 2000 extra trips for Wal-Mart means we will have 10000 extra cars per day either coming or going to these stares, if both deals go through. Assuming an average of 1.2 people per car that yields 12,000 people which is 25% of all men, women and children living in Poway.(I don't know how to factor in out of townees.), That means 50% will visit these stores on a weekend. Do you think that's true? I know there's a bunch of if's here, like someone going both days,but believe I'm in the ballpark if your numbers are correct. I hope they have enough parking spaces to accommodate all these people, especially during peak times. Tom
Joe St. Lucas August 16, 2011 at 02:00 AM
Tom, Estimates from people asking walmart customers if they live in poway or not, gave about 80% of the customers did not live in Poway. They come from Ramona, Mira Mesa, RB, PQ, 4S, etc. I don't know what % of people that Lowes traffic estimates will be coming down each road, the report for the council meeting in september is not on line yet. There are Lowes in Escondido, Santee, Mission Valley, Vista, etc, so someone in Ramona might choose the Escondido Lowes over the Poway Lowes, or the funky santee lowes which is very close to the santee home depot. Will the Mira Mesa or RB customers go to escondido for Lowes or to Poway? The customers for Lowes are different from Home Depot, according to the Lowes reps I talked with, so having a HD nearby really won't have much affect on Lowes. Of course nails are the same everywhere, but where HD has bathroom fixtures, Lowes has them "showcased" so that you can see what your lo-flush toilet will look like in a "real" bathroom. When the stores first open, I expect tons of locals to go there to see what they have to offer, and after a month or so I expect the majority of the traffic at walmart to be out of towners, and unknown for Lowes.
Tom Yarnall August 16, 2011 at 03:20 AM
Joe, even though I question the validity of your survey I think it is just great that so many out of townees shop and spend hugh amounts of tax dollars in our community. We get all the benefits from their tax spending and don't have to pay for many improvements in our community. I think we should keep them coming and approve the expansion.Just think how much they will be spending at Lowes. I think we should make Poway Rd an eight lane freeway from the 67 to the 15 terminating at a car pool parking lot at Community and Poway Rd. I think you have illustrated a good reason to give companies an incentive to move to our great city such as is being done with Toyota/Lowes.
Tom Yarnall August 16, 2011 at 03:28 AM
I think if we had that freeway we could re-vitalize the Poway Road business district. I'll just bet we could get some"shovel ready" Obama funds for the project depending on what happens in Nov 2012.
Nick Stavros August 16, 2011 at 05:27 AM
Tom, I'll quote my Grandmother ... There is a place for everything and everything shoiuld be in its place ... I think its great to get tax dollars from out of towners, and we (the people of Poway) have a place for this kind of supercenter, its called the industrial Park. It already has a 6 lane road that connects I15 to 67, has few curves and takes all those out of towners right there so that they can give us their tax dollars. Unfortunately, making Walmart a Supercenter doesn't bring tax dollars, it brings lots more traffic, but food and drugs are not taxable. What we loose are people who are currently coming to Walmart ot buy autoparts (taxable) and garden supplies (taxable). From your adamant defense of Walmart Supercenter in Poway you either 1) work for Walmart 2) Hate the people in South Poway 3) Don't believe in Free Enterprise 4) Have no understanding of City Planning 5) Never have to go along Poway Road during commuting times. Regardless of your reasons, there doesn't seem to be anything that will change your mind much like most of the people on City Staff or Council. They look at the EIR process as a nuisance that prevents them from doing what they want! Sounds to me that you love Walmart and you love the idea of supersizing it, regardless of what it costs the people of Poway and you seem quite willing to trivialize any critiques regardless of their merits.
Nick Stavros August 16, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Walmart sales drop for ninth month: http://money.cnn.com/rssclick/2011/08/16/news/companies/walmart/index.htm?eref=mrss_igoogle_business
Tom Yarnall August 16, 2011 at 06:42 PM
Nick, please allow me to respond to your silly assertions. 1) I do not work for Wal-Mart. I probably don't qualify for a job there. 2) I do hate the people in S. Poway and frequently let my two sons who have homes there know how much I hate them. I especially hate my son who lives just a few blocks from Wal-Mart. 3) This is puzzling because I support the expansion because of free enterprise 4) Not being a political gadfly, I certainly don't understand City Planning as you. I probably should try to develop a hatred for our city officials and treat them as crooks until they do something I agree with. I admit I have been doing it the other way around. 5) Having lived here for 36 years I have frequently traveled Poway Road at all hours. I can't remember a time when I had to sit through more than one signal cycle. In fact, I believe Poway Road in not much more congested today as it was 36 years ago when we didn't have an expanded Twin Peaks and Scripps Pky and Poway Rd was not divided and had few, if no, left turn lanes as it has today.I can't remember a day people have not complained about Poway Road.
Tom Yarnall August 16, 2011 at 06:43 PM
continued--- Let me be clear. I support the Wal-Mart Expansion because I believe free trade and open markets bring competition resulting in better products, more choices and lower prices leading to a better life for all. I think a bit more traffic or noise is a small price to pay and firmly believe those most impacted would approve the project. I, also think that a large number of those who oppose the expansion are just Wal-Mart haters and this hate overwhelms their compassion for the lower income folks that make up a very large part of Wal-Mart shoppers. It's kind of like the hate you have for City Hall, Your not sure why but it's there. By the way, I seldom shop at Wal-Mart and if I do it's for convenience when I need to buy a single item like fishing worms or fishing supplies.You probably buy your stuff at Target, a junior Wal-Mart. God Bless Grandmother.
Nick Stavros August 16, 2011 at 07:43 PM
I have no problem with Walmart, just where it is and who pays for the required infrastructure improvements required to handle the increase in traffic. If Walmart wants to expand, let them pay for the improvements or move to an area where the improvements have already been made. We already do this for housing. Each development must mitigate the cost of the development. So, lets do it to Walmart, Target, etc. That is free enterprise. If Walmart can't make it happen within those cost constraints, than so be it. If they can, great, let them go ahead an do it BUT they must mitigate all the environmental impacts. Pretending that Poway Road will not be impacted is crazy, however, if it gets too bad, Walmart will be loser since less people will want to come along it to go to Walmart. However, Twin Peaks Rd is already near collapse, especially during commute times, so it will most likely need to be widened, and once we have killed the requisite number of people at the intersections along Community Road and/or Twin Peaks, then we will add the lights to those intersections too (at our expense). This will also put more pressure on Espola Road also so, our City Planners can get their dream to finish making Espola a 6-lane high speed traffic corridor. The purpose of the City is first and foremost to protect its citizens both from a safety perspective and from an economic perspective. No one decides not to move to a City because they don't have a supercenter
Tom Yarnall August 16, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Twin Peaks is about to collapse!! Nick, I think you have been living in the country too long. Go into the city and see what real traffic is like. I admit I may be wrong about all of this and don't know anyone who agrees with me. You may be 100% correct, but it will be interesting for me to see how well you and your followers do in the next election. If we have grid lock you will probably be a shoo in.
Tom Yarnall August 16, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Nick, once again, you may have the last word.
Nick Stavros August 16, 2011 at 08:48 PM
I think the disturbing thing to me about your argument is ... lets do it and if we have problems, then lets go from there. Meanwhile, the cause of the problem gets away without paying their fair share. What I know is what we have. What I want is for it to stay the same or get better. What I don't want is to fail so that I can pay to fix it latter. The Walmart expansion is a piecemeal approach to City Planning. We already have a great plan, lets stick to it. There is a place for supercenters, why should Walmart not follow the plan? Lets not compromise the quality of life of the residents on an experiment that if it fails we have to pay to fix. Why accept the risk? Property values are tied directly to quality of life of the residents. If the quality of life goes down, the property values go down ... pretty straight forward. No one decides to move to a City based on if there is a Walmart. They don't decide to move to a City because its congested or at gridlock. They do decide to move to a City based on quality of life issues like police, fire, schools, medical care, parks, lack of noise and congestion, etc, etc, etc. So, as for love affair with Walmart supersizing and the defense of its right to compromise my quality of life as free enterprise, I just don't get it! What about my right for free enterprise, the value of my home!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something