2013-06-21 / Front Page

Camarillo Walmart moving forward

Walmart is moving forward with its plans to open a new grocery store in the former Linens n Things building at the Camarillo Town Center Shopping Center on Ventura Boulevard.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market, a 36,000-square-foot full-service grocery store, would join the shopping center’s other major tenants—Target, Sports Authority and Home Depot.

The Arkansas-based retailer will ask the Camarillo City Council on Wednesday night to approve the paperwork it needs to get a liquor license so the new grocery store can sell beer, wine and hard alcohol.

The council will likely reject the request because Walmart has not applied for a conditional use permit, which is required by city code for any store selling liquor in Camarillo.

The store must have a conditional use permit in order for the state’s department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to approve Walmart's liquor license.

When Walmart does apply for the conditional use permit, the city will undergo a study of the area to determine if the store’s opening in Camarillo provides some sort benefit to the community. The type of food and services sold and the store’s proximity to schools and parks are usually the main criteria taken into consideration for a conditional use permit.   

The conditional use permit is further complicated by the fact that Walmart would open in what’s called Census Tract 56, the technical term for the area within the city’s boundaries south of the 101 Freeway.

Census Tract 56 has allotted 13 liquor licenses—eight for on-premise consumption, such as for a bar or restaurant, and five for stores. The tract has more liquor licenses than allowed by state law. That number is determined by the tract’s population, according Leslie Pond, the supervising agent in charge for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The city has the authority, however, to approve additional liquor licenses within a particular census tract despite the state law.

Pond said ABC cannot approve a liquor license for a business if the local government—in this case, the City Council—denies a conditional use permit.

Pond said his office does not know when Walmart would like to begin moving into the empty building and said his agency would undertake a thorough investigation of Walmart’s liquor license application before a decision was made.

Dave Norman, community development director, said Walmart has begun demolition of the interior of the former Linens n Things and has started to upgrade plumbing in the building. 

Norman could not say if or when the city will approve Walmart’s conditional use permit.

—Daniel Wolowicz


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