By Danny Bernardini/Vacaville Reporter Staff Writer
SUISUN CITY - If members of the Suisun City Council seem busy in the next two weeks, it may be that they are brushing up on 1,600 pages of environmental documents surrounding the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Those documents, and more, will be considered when the council meets Feb. 12 to decide the fate of the proposed Supercenter on Walters Road near Highway 12.
The Suisun City Planning Commission, acting in an advisory roll, unanimously approved the project Tuesday night.
It is now up to the City Council, which will vote whether or not to override a decision by Solano County Airport Land Use Commission. The ALUC - a county advisory board - voted against the project in November, therefore the council would need a super-majority vote to override that decision. If the council does so, it then would vote on approving the Final Environmental Impact Report.
The proposal for the Wal-Mart at a 20.8-acre site near Highway 12 and Walters Road would include 230,000 square feet of commercial space including a 215,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter building, plus a fuel station with mini-mart, an 8,000-square-foot sit-down restaurant or commercial-use site and parking.
Tuesday's planning commission meeting, which lasted nearly four hours, featured a couple hours of public comment, overflow seating and some unruly behavior by a few members of the crowd.
Pete Sanchez, mayor of Suisun City, was at the meeting and was impressed by the public's involvement. "It seems to me they could have gone to the wee hours of the night," Sanchez said. "Both groups did it real well. There was civility and no finger pointing. That was good."
He said the task before the council is not an easy one. As for the hundreds of pages of reading, Sanchez said he has already labored through them. He also said he expects the council's meeting to be just as popular.
"That's no problem, doing my speed reading on legalese. As an accountant, I wish there were more numbers and figures in there," Sanchez joked. "I would think it would be more of the same (at the council meeting). The opponents are probably in the line of thinking that the council will approve it."
Also at Tuesday night's meeting was councilman Sam Derting. He said the crowd as a whole behaved itself and opponents didn't raise many issues that contradicted the EIR.
"I was pleasantly surprised there were supporters from both sides," Derting said. "I thought it went well. It was a lot calmer than I thought it would be. Most of the stuff (opponents) have brought up have been emotional issues rather than things detrimental to the environment."
Derting, although not stating how he would vote on Feb. 12, said after reading the documents that he is satisfied that many of the concerns - safety, traffic and environmental issues - are addressed in the EIR. Derting said he expects a heated meeting.
"We're probably going to get a little bit harsher treatment," he said. "I've not seen anything in there that is hard and detrimental to the community."
Danny Bernardini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.