UFCW 367 (United Food & Commercial Workers Union)
picketing Yelm Wal-Mart, October 2008.
Photo credit: Yelm Community Blog
– Yelm Bypass to be funded to be operational by late 2020 or early 2021.
While Yelm officials and the public are elated over $58 million being disseminated from two increases to the state gas tax [August 1, 2015 = a 7-cent increase, July 1, 2016 = a 4.9-cent increase.]
to complete the State Route 507 Bypass (Yelm Loop) with a target to open in about 5-6 years, today marks the 8th anniversary since Mayor Harding cut the ribbon to open Wal-Mart after a very acrimonious setting-aside of city requirements of their traffic mitigation plan in order to get Wal-Mart built here.
– Today marks the 8th anniversary of the Yelm Wal-Mart opening!
The City of Yelm Community Development Dept. recommended back in 2005 & 2006 that the Yelm City Council approve the permit for a Wal-Mart to be constructed in Yelm. There were public hearings and several groups, including “Protect Yelm,” that raised many issues about this store being built here.
– Traffic mitigation was a key concern then:
How would the projected 750+ vehicles a day be handled on Yelm streets.
The City of Yelm’s own Transportation Mitigation Plan for Wal-Mart construction being approved REQUIRED that traffic would be handled via a completed Yelm Bypass WITHIN 6 YEARS!
[If there was no Bypass, required was evidence of funding to build a Bypass to be operational within 6 years of Wal-Mart’s opening, for which there was none!]
Many of the public KNEW there would be no funding for a Bypass by 2013 and protested the approval to the Yelm City Council and the city’s Hearings Examiner on these grounds. Yelm officials would not listen nor agree. The city silenced at every turn any public dissent on Wal-Mart being built.
At the time, the City of Yelm had just received the egregious 2006 Jefferson Muzzle Award for their “moratorium on moratoriums” about the public not being permitted to mention Big-Box stores at open-to-the-public comment period in City Council sessions.
So, here we are in 2015, eight years later after the Wal-Mart opening and there is still no Bypass to mitigate their traffic and won’t be for at least another 5 years, just as the public predicted.
Further, the city did not follow their own rules for land use approval plus an MDNS by requiring a connector to 103rd to be constructed by November 22, 2008 to handle Wal-Mart’s traffic. The connector was not constructed until a year later, in 2009:
“When the city approved the construction of Wal-Mart, the superstore was required to build the connector.
One of the stipulations was that the connector had to be built 18 months after right-of-way was purchased, Beck said [City Community Development Director Grant Beck].
Right-of-way acquisition was completed in July 2007.
The permit process to allow Wal-Mart to start construction on the connector was completed in December 2008.”
“Once the Yelm Bypass is constructed, the connector will be ripped out and replaced to become part of the bypass,” quoting the NVN, September 18, 2009.
Click here for the Yelm Community Blog entry on Wal-Mart’s Yelm opening 8 years ago today!