Ignoring safety concerns of scores of residents who fear a new Wal-Mart project here could lead to deaths along adjacent “Blood Alley,” or from low-flying planes from Travis Air Base or a buried jet pipeline, the Suisun City Planning Commission recommended Tuesday night the controversial project be approved by the City Council.
The decision to rubber stamp the Environmental Impact Report at a hearing attended by an overflow crowd of 150 residents was not unexpected. The planners made it clear that hoped-for sales taxes were more important than the environment or lives of residents. Speakers even questioned the tax gain, saying stores in Suisun and Fairfield would “cannibalize” each other.
The next step is approval by the Suisun City Council Feb. 12. It will first have to vote, by a four-fifths margin, to override the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission, which refused to approve the 227,000 square foot project because, the ALUC said, the project is too big to be that close to Travis Air Force Base.
The ALUC ruled the project was “unsafe,” and would encroach upon the base something that could cause the military to move the base, a major concern for 65,000 military retirees in the county. Travis AFB is the county’s largest employer ($1.1 billion a year, 14,000 jobs).
“This is the biggest project in town. It will be the biggest disaster in town,” charged Dwight Acey, chair of Suisun Citizens League, one of the community groups opposed to the project. He said the EIR shows there will be as many as 70,000 additional vehicle trips along Highway 12 known as “Blood Alley” because of all the accidents making it even more dangerous.
Resident Anthony Moscarelli citing letters from a national pipeline trust said there are major issues about a buried jet fuel pipeline within feet of the project. “There’s not one mention of the fuel pipeline danger,” he said, adding the city may be liable for damages, and that an increase in insurance coverage would eat up all of the anticipated sales tax gains.
“I object to my neighbors who will be killed by the project,” said Wayne Monger, a geologist who lives near the site, and Paul GreenLee of Suisun Alliance, said “People in the community have said we do not want it. It does not fit our city.” Another speaker called the decision a “betrayal” of the people. Another called for a “recall” of elected officials.