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Wal-Mart decision delayed

Company asks for three-week extension

Wal-Mart says it needs extra time to consider issues brought up by city planners who are reviewing the company's application to build a Gresham supercenter.

The retailer has asked for a three-week extension to the normal 120-day review period.

'Wal-Mart would like more time to consider technical issues related to the traffic study,' said Laura Bridges-Shepard, city spokeswoman.

City planners say they expect to have a decision on the most recent Wal-Mart application, which would put a 120,000-square-foot super center off 182nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard, by mid July.

The official review period, with the three-week extension, will end Sept. 26.

'This is a pretty standard request,' said Ann Pytynia, Gresham's principal planner. ' … The city continues to review the application based on the standards set forth in the city's code and this extension will allow this to continue.'

Pytynia said that 'at the end of the day (the city) wants a process and a decision that is fair to all involved.'

Traffic issues are nothing new when it comes to Wal-Mart building a Gresham store. The city denied the company's original plan to build a 222,000-square-foot supercenter on the same site last year and a hearings officer later upheld the decision. Despite the denials, Wal-Mart purchased the 11-acre site and came back with plans for a scaled-down store.

Opponents say the new plan, though it incorporates a smaller shopping center, would generate just as much traffic.

Earlier this month, city planners received more than 1,000 comments regarding the application, including a petition with nearly 7,000 signatures that opposed the development.

Bridges-Shepard said city planners have six main issues regarding the Wal-Mart application, including questions about trips generated by the development; capacity issues at the intersection of Powell and 182nd; and the development's impact on Springwater Trail at Pleasant View Drive.