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After coming on strong, Wal-Mart is “teeter-tottering” about pursuing a 15-acre site in southern San Juan Capistrano, according to Mayor Londres Uso.
Uso said Wal-Mart contacted the city after reading a Voice of OC story about the city considering offering an invitation to the world’s largest retailer.
But now it seems that although they are still interested in the Lower Rosan Ranch property, Wal-Mart officials want get a better sense of city residents’ sentiment before making a commitment.
Wal-Mart’s concern, Uso said, dates to a 2002 citywide advisory vote that showed 69 percent of voters did not want a Home Depot store at the site. Uso brought up the previous vote when Councilman Mark Nielsen suggested having another advisory vote regarding big-box retailers.
“There is a great difference between the council making a decision after hearing from many individuals on a project — even if the council acts contrary to the majority of those testifying — versus acting against the actual vote of a majority of our citizens in a duly called election,” Nielsen said.
However, Nielsen also noted that circumstances had changed dramatically since 2002, and that he was confident the residents would see that as well. Nielsen’s colleagues did not support his call for an advisory vote, saying basically that the City Council should take a leadership position and make what it considers the best decision.
I’ve put in a call to Wal-Mart’s press office to see if the company has any comment on what is going on.
Stay tuned. …
— ADAM ELMAHREK
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