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Walmart grocery at Town Center back on the table

Posted: December 21, 2012 6:11 p.m.
Updated: December 21, 2012 6:11 p.m.

Westfield notified the city of Santa Clarita’s planning commission a week ago that it wants to move forward with a discussion about planning changes it requested to locate a Walmart Neighborhood Market at the Valencia Town Center, said a spokesman for the city on Friday.

“Westfield wants to move forward with the Walmart grocery again,” said Jason Crawford, manager of economic development and marketing. “They are slated to go before the Planning Commission on Jan. 15.”

There are concerns about parking, traffic circulation and pedestrian access, Crawford said. And the city received a couple of letters of opposition since the last public hearing was delayed.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market is already permitted, said Jeff Hogan, city planning manager, but Westfield is going before the planning commission because of the redesign changes it is requesting.

Westfield originally submitted design changes in April 2012. It originally had a hearing schedule on Oct. 16 but requested a delay.

The 30,399 square feet of retail space sits on The Patios, next to the Sears store.

Westfield requested a redesign of the entryway to the mall on Valencia Blvd. and the parking lot, Hogan said. The company also requested some architectural enhancements and elevated loading bays in the back of the storefront.

The mall development and management company confirmed it is requesting site modifications to the road that rings the parking lot and to the parking lots itself to accommodate the new use, according to Katie Dickey, executive vice president of communications for Westfield. It is also making requests pertaining to the loading dock, Dickey said.

“Westfield is always looking to improve the choice for consumers, including adding a grocer on the east end of The Patios,” Dickey said.

Santa Clarita is asking Westfield to install a “vermaport” to provide shoppers with better access to the lower level parking lot by Sears, said Jessica Frank, associate planner for the city.

A vermaport is a side-by-side, dual escalator. One side moves people and the other side transports their shopping carts, she said.

With a vermaport there will be better parking lot and pedestrian access for people, Frank said. People also need a convenient way to take their groceries to their car.

“We want to make sure moms with kids can get to their car in a safe way,” she said.

The city is also asking Westfield to utilize the existing loading bays, rather than add more, Frank said.

The Walmart Neighborhood Markets are about one-fifth the size of the Walmart Supercenters, and carry fresh produce, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, and a pharmacy.

Walmart has three stores in the Santa Clarita Valley, located in Stevenson Ranch, Valencia and Canyon Country.


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