Elks Club Property, Union Ave.

Since the material below the line was posted, there have been many developments.  A group of citizens has formed to specifically oppose Walmart's application to build a supercenter store at the Central Tacoma Elks Club property site,  http://tacomaunitedagainstwalmart.com/ ,  and there are at least two separate facebook pages dedicated to that effort:  http://www.facebook.com/nowalmartintacoma  and  http://www.facebook.com/TacomaUnitedAgainstWalmart

Walmart's SEPA Addendum

CNC's 1/8/2012 public comment letter re Walmart's SEPA Addendum

New:  2/3/2012 City of Tacoma's Exhibit A to Determination of Nonsignificance under SEPA  (115 pages)


Background About Wal-Mart (now named Walmart):

Highly Critical Documentary Movie: "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price"

A PBS Frontline program: "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?"

2007 New Yorker Article: "Anals of Spin: Selling Wal-Mart"

2009 CNBC program: "The NEW Age of Walmart"(website)  or  click here (video)

2010 Comprehensive Book: "The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business" by Nelson Lichtenstein.

2008 Website by anti-Walmart group in Atascadero, CA with extensive information: http://www.opposewalmart.com/links.html

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good Evening Fellow CNC Board Members,

Over the last few days Tricia and I have been public records requesting the City of Tacoma regarding the Elks Development on South 23rd and Union.   The reason for this is during the last Environmental Public Works Committee meeting held last Wednesday that site was on the agenda.  The developers want the CIty of Tacoma to change an ordinance to allow for better traffic flow into that site once developed.  Council Members Mello, Campbell, Boe and Chair Fey asked several times, in several different ways what was being developed there.  The city staff could not answer.  The developer in the room refused to respond publicly to the council members what the plan was for that site.

This lead Tricia and I to public records request the City regarding that site on Thursday.  Gabe has been wonderful with us and gave us all we asked for.  The Public records show that it will be a whole bunch of development including a hospital, pharmacy warehouse, dental and medical space and only 50,000 square feet of retail.

Now, the question then leads us to “why was the developer so secretive?”   I have it on good reason to believe that the SEPA plans (see documents below) will change and that there could be the potential of a “very controversial” development coming to that site.  My first and only thought is a Walmart which would be horribly bad!  I cannot confirm this but it's the only educated thought I can come up with!

If we could get a formal action within the next 24 hours by the CNC to say LETS NOT PASS ANYTHING until we publicly know what is happening at that site.  That means the ordinance that is up for first reading tomorrow at Council would be tabled until we publicly know what is really happening there!   If it is a “Controversial company” then we need to figure out as a community what we are going to do.

It is my understanding that this will be the last time that anything regarding this site will be sent to the Council.  The rest is all “Adminstrative”   Once the building permit is given then ...

We need as many people as we can to come to council tomorrow and frankly speak on this issue.  We need the Mayor and Council to understand we want this to slow down and them to pass NOTHING until the developer publicly says what the real plan is!   If we can't get formal action by the CNC done by tomorrow, then come as a citizen!
Justin D. Leighton

At the meeting of the City Council's Environment and Public Works Committee on Aug. 24, 2011, the developer, Jeffrey Oliphant, cited a confidentiality agreement that prevented him from answering council members' questions about whether the site was being developed for a "big box store" or other retailer such as Wal-Mart.  The audio of that meeting is available at and the discussion is from the 30-minute to the 47-minute point of that recording.  Developer Jeff Oliphant built a Wal-Mart store in Federal Way in 2005-06, according to an article at http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_king/fwm/news/19905129.html .

Public Records Obtainied to Date:



Final Determination Modified MDNS.PDF

South 23 at Union.pdf

Events at Aug. 30 City Council Meeting:

At the meeting, the Council members first unanimously struck from their agenda consideration of proposed Ordinance 28013 that would have permitted a "U" turn at Union St. at South 23rd Street as the developer requested.  Then the Council members added to their agenda, and they adopted, hot-off-the-printer Ordinance 28014 that imposes an immediate six-month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for permits for "combined format retail establishments that exceed 65,000 square feet" [such as a Wal-Mart superstore]. Many citizens were at the meeting to speak against the possibility of a Wal-Mart store being built at the 18-acre Elks Club site and to demand more transparency and full disclosure by any developer of that site. For a News Tribune article about the City Council meeting, click here.  We learned later that the moratorium ordinance does not become effective until it is published, and that Walmart submitted to City officials its development application the morning after the Council meeting before the ordinance was published. So it is uncertain, as yet, whether the moratorium ordinance will apply to the Walmart application.

August 31, 2011:

Wal-Mart confirmed that it plans on building a 150,000 square foot "Super Store" at the Elks Club site.  For the News Tribune's blog reporting this, click here, and for its front-page story on Sept. 1, 2011, click here.

Bellingham's Grappling with "Big Box Stores" Ban:




Background About Wal-Mart:

Highly Critical Documentary Movie: "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price"

A PBS Frontline program: "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?"

2007 New Yorker Article: "Anals of Spin: Selling Wal-Mart"

2009 CNBC program: "The NEW Age of Walmart"(website)  or click here (video)

Sept. 2 News and Opinion:

Tacoma News Tribune editorial, "Council right to be cautious about proposed Walmart"

TNT Blog article:  "Tacoma Elks Lodge leader believes sale will go through despite Wal-Mart controversy"

CNC News Release: "Heart of Tacoma Opposes Large Scale Retails"

Weekly Volcano newspaper:  "Tacoma's Central Neighborhood Council opposes Elks site development"

Sept. 16, 2011, City Review of Walmart's Application

The City sent a letter conditionally rejecting Walmart's store building application.

Sept. 21, 2011, City Planning Commission Meeting.

At the City Planning Commission meeting concerning the moratorium, staff presented a PowerPoint presentation. Click here to download it as a PDF document.  The Planning Commission's website page concerning the Large Scale Retail Moratorium is at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=17330

Citizens' Group Formed: Tacoma United Against Walmart  A grass-roots group has formed to oppose locating a Walmart store in Tacoma. For its website, click here.


Website Perpetually Under Construction.

Mt. Rainier from S. 11th and Sheridan

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