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Council mulls citizens' committee to look at retail ordinances

The Sherwood City Council will determine June 17 whether to pass a resolution to form a citizens committee to look at ordinanaces involving retail establishments


A citizens’ committee could be the final arbitrator in determining which ordinances might be sent to voters regarding future big-box retailers.

On June 12, Sherwood City Councilor Linda Henderson proposed forming a citizen review committee that would examine a variety of potential ordinances that could limit such things as allowing overnight parking, staying open all night or regulating certain employment conditions.

Once that committee is formed, it would send its recommendations to the city attorney’s office and ultimately to the city council for review. If accepted, plans would be to place the proposed ordinances before voters in November.

“That is my recommendation to council,” said Henderson. “We do know we’re on a very tight time schedule.”

The council meets Tuesday, June 17, at 7 p.m. at Sherwood City Hall to discuss passing a resolution to form the committee.

The need for tightening up the rules on future retail ventures comes after public outcry following the announcement that Walmart plans on building a 145,000-square-foot superstore off of Tualatin-Sherwood Road at Langer Farms Parkway.

Henderson said that committee could be composed of residents on both sides of the issue, along with Sherwood business owners and at least one unbiased chairman or chairwoman to lead the group.

“This is a way (for) an entire community to make a stance on what our community wants,” said Henderson.

Naomi Belov, an opponent of the Sherwood Walmart, said she believed the time frame would be too late to stop Walmart from coming.

However, Henderson later said any ordinances would still apply since the store isn’t expected to open until 2014, and there hasn’t even been a pre-application submitted to the planning department outlining exact plans.

That committee would have to come up with the proposed ordinances by Sept. 5 to make a Washington County Elections Division ballot deadline for November.

The citizens’ committee might also examine what penalties would be enforced for ordinance violators.

The proposal for a citizen review committee was made to a packed council chambers filled with a majority of residents who said they objected to the national retailer coming to Sherwood, citing everything from the chain’s employment practices to feeling blindsided by not being told Walmart would be coming until after a developer’s announcement.

Several weeks ago, the council examined numerous ordinances — put forward by a citizens’ group — that would limit such things as permitting all-night parking of recreational vehicles in retail parking lots or staying open 24 hours a day. The committee might look at employment practices as well.

“We did go through all those ordinances you suggested,” Councilor Bill Butterfield told audience members.




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