Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Ghost of Pyrrhus

In a bizarre twist, PARD spokespersons Christopher Lupke in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News yesterday, and Montine Vona-Pergola on NewsTalk 1150 this morning, stated that they were glad that the city had applied 35 conditions to the Wal-Mart site plan approval. It’s almost as if they are claiming victory and taking credit for the conditional approval. The arrogant hypocrisy of these people is stunning.

Some of the “hard-hitting” city conditions:
#6. Provide calculations for the retaining walls including the total face area of the walls.
#9. The City will require 3 sets of construction drawings for our use.
#10. All construction shall meet City of Pullman Standard Construction Specifications and Standard Plans.
#21. Grip rings and/or Foster connectors are acceptable in lieu of thrust blocks and are required for fire hydrant assemblies.
#23. Landscape trees shall not be placed in utility easements.
#27. No obstructions shall be placed within three feet of a fire hydrant. Shrubs, utilities, etc. shall not be placed within 3 feet of a fire hydrant. Fire hydrant steamer ports shall face the street, access road, parking lot lane, etc.
#33. Approved numbers or addresses shall be placed on the building in such a position as to be plainly visible and legible from the street fronting the property and shall contrast with the background. The pylon sign on Bishop Boulevard shall also have the address of the site on it. Monument signs on Fairmount Drive are not required to have addressing.
There ARE several minor conditions concerning storm water runoff (reports, documentation, relocation of a swale, etc), striping on Fairmount Drive to control traffic, and replacement of trees and a landscaping screen along the boundary with the cemetery. These all directly related to issues that PARD is currently appealing from the SEPA approval a few weeks ago.

So now what? Previously, PARD excoriated Mark Workman for the final SEPA Determination of Non-Significance. Now they are praising him. Does this mean they will drop some of their SEPA appeals based on the city’s conditions and not pursue a site plan appeal? Not bloody likely. Lupke said yesterday PARD would likely appeal, BEFORE HE HAD EVEN REVIEWED THE SITE APPROVAL.

PARD will look even shriller, fanatical and out of touch because now they have acknowledged the city did a good job on the site plan (albeit, they’ll claim, only because of PARD’s prodding). But gosh darn it, even if Wal-Mart addresses all 35 issues (which they will), PARD will still have to appeal the site plan and the SEPA approval for “the good of the people of Pullman.”

This will prove to the public what I have been saying all along. There is NOTHING that Wal-Mart or the city can do that would meet with PARD’s approval. Only complete “slam dunking” of Wal-Mart, to use Al Norman’s catchphrase, will assuage them.

UPDATE: 9/23/05 5:15 PM - I was right. PARD is claiming credit and declaring victory. From their website:
The Wal-Mart Site Plan has been approved with 35 mitigations. The city apparently agrees with us; several of our criticisms of the site plan are outlined. This is a site plan with serious issues that must be resolved prior to a building permit being granted.
To quote WSUStretch's comment:
Conditions placed on site plans, or on residential or commercial plats are nothing unusual - go back and look and any of the rulings from the planning commission or the city council over the past 20 years. It's normal. Most of them are obvious and more reminders than "restrictions"
They are hardly "serious issues". We'll see now if they appeal the site plan after publicly saying the "city apparently agrees with us."


WSUStretch said...

Conditions placed on site plans, or on residential or commercial plats are noting unusual - go back and look and any of the rulings from the planning commission or the city council over the past 20 years. It's normal. Most of them are obvious and more reminders than "restrictions"

I think it's importnat for us to remain on the high road. If they want to move within their rights, fine. If they push beyound, that is when we need to speak up.

At this point, all city code, ordinances and plans are clear. mark has done a nice job of over emphasising the obvious as a way to make sure there is nothing missed, but it's moving forward.

18 months from now, we'll all be taking advantage of the increased commercial benefits of this and other developments in that area.

Ray Lindquist said...

We sure need the tax $$ for the city & county cofferes. The sooner the better, yes we do need to take the "high road". Has anyone heard if they are going to hvae gas at the Super Center?

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

I read they will have the ability to add a gas station at a later date if they want to based upon approval. However, I was wondering...is Safeway putting in a gas station? If so, I wonder why PARD isn't all over that?!

Tom Forbes said...

SHW #1, that's because Safeway is a UNION shop. The United Food and Commercial Workers union is the sworn enemy of Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart workers are not part of their union. That's also why Safeway allowed PARD to gather petition signatures there. Safeway could build a nuclear reactor in their parking lot and PARD wouldn’t' complain.

Tom Forbes said...

I think it is pretty obvious PARD has pushed beyond their rights. You need only read Jerry Griebling's letter to the editor in the Sept. 15 Daily News. He was LIED to by PARD and his business was decepively used against Wal-Mart. I'm still waiting for the Daily News to investigate that story. I have heard many stories about students that were tricked into signing PARD's petition as well.

In any case, we need to speak up publicly. When I was interviewed by a reporter with KLEW-TV, she said, "Gosh, I thought everyone in Pullman was against Wal-Mart." We can't afford that perception to get out to other prospective businesses that are thinking about locating in Pullman.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Here, Here! We do need to do something as PARD is not only making it difficult for Pullman to build our tax base, but also makes Pullman bad. I too wonder why no one has investigated into PARD's deceptive practices.