HILLSBORO, OR-Wal-Mart’s fight for its first store in Washington County is headed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. The warehouse retailer’s bid for a store here on 26 acres at the confluence of Northwest Cornelius and West Baseline roads has been shot down by the city planning commission, the city council and, most recently, by the state Land Use Board of Appeals. The state Court of Appeals, its only remaining option, is expected to hold a public hearing in June.The state Land Use Board of Appeals on April 7 upheld the city council’s unanimous denial, determining among other things that Wal-Mart failed to produce accurate projections of the traffic impacts of its proposed development and did not explore development alternatives that would have retained two groves of sequoia trees. The building’s lack of windows along one side of the building and the positioning of the loading dock too close to a sidewalk also were mentioned in the board’s decision.The Hillsboro City Council rejected Wal-Mart’s application in August. Wal-Mart appealed the decision to LUBA in September. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is making a second attempt to win approval for a store in Oregon City. Last year, the retailer was not able to obtain the zone change it needed, as the city commissioners voted unanimously to deny it. This time, it is seeking to build on a 13-acre site that does not need a rezone, which means it does not need approvals from either the planning commission or the city commissioners. Rather, it needs only administrative approval from the city’s community development director, who is expected to make a decision this month. Either way, the decision likely will be appealed, pushing it into the laps of the city commissioners anyway. One of the determinations the development director will make is whether the old proposal and the new proposal are too much alike. City code says that if an application has been denied, the applicant must wait a year before submitting a “substantially similar” proposal. In January, the Hood River County Commission rejected Wal-Mart’s request to replace its existing 75,000-sf store there with a 186,000-sf superstore, which would have been 17 times larger than any other building in the immediate area. The county’s planning commission in December approved the new building, but with several conditions. Wal-Mart, a local watchdog group and the City of Hood River all appealed the decision to the county commission. Wal-Mart was hoping to see some conditions removed. The city and the watchdog group were hoping to see the building shot down altogether due to concerns about flooding and the proposed building’s general incompatibility with the neighborhood.

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