Pleasanton City Councilman Matt Sullivan, a long-time and outspoken foe of the business and employment policies of national retailer Walmart Corp., filed an appeal Monday against a decision last month by the city's Planning Commission to allow the company to open one of its Neighborhood Markets here.
Walmart has filed papers with the city to open its market in the long-vacant 33,160-square-foot former Nob Hill supermarket building on Santa Rita Road, near Las Positas Boulevard.
The Pleasanton Planning Commission voted 5-0 on March 19 to approve for a second time Walmart's bid. The commission's decision actually was to deny an appeal by two Pleasanton residents, Angela Joe-Willmes and Linda Martin, who contested a decision by the city's zoning administrator.
The administrator ruled that Walmart could open its market at the site since the proposed market matches the footprint of the Nob Hill store, which the city approved in 1982.
In February, the City Council voted 4-1 to accept the zoning administrator's decision, with Sullivan casting the one vote against the measure.
Council members have the right to appeal any decisions by the Planning Commission and Sullivan filed his Monday with City Clerk Karen Diaz. The simple two-page appeal form carries his signature but no reasons for the appeal are given.
More than 150 attended the Planning Commission meeting, which was held in the Firehouse Arts Center because a large crowd was expected.
City Manager Nelson Fialho said the council meeting on Sullivan's appeal could attract the same or even a larger crowd and will likely also be held in the Firehouse Theater, which has seats for 227 people. If the Firehouse isn't available, another site will be chosen.
By law, the council must act on Sullivan's appeal within 45 days. With council meetings usually held on Tuesday evenings, he said a special meeting will be called, possible as early as April 24 if the Firehouse Theater is available. Other nights and later dates prior to the 45-day deadline also will be considered.
If the council votes to deny Sullivan's appeal, Walmart could file for operating permits at the old Nob Hill store as early as the next day. Improvements to the interior of the store that Walmart is proposing could take another two-to-three months, with the store likely to open in mid- to late summer.