One-story Walmart allowed in Gateway because it’s part of larger development, commission told

The Gateway
The Gateway has a new plan under review by the city.

The Walmart store that is being proposed for the Gateway development in Mission is a one-story building that normally might run into some size restrictions if it were not part of a larger development.

Mission City Planner Danielle Murray, responding to a question from a planning commissioner last week, said the definitions of discount stores and discount superstores in the Mission zoning code only apply to standalone stores, but not when considering a development as a whole. “By definition, this is not a discount store,” Murray said of the Walmart. The question posed by the commissioner was why some restrictions in the code would not apply in the MXD or Planned Mixed Use District under the code.

A provision of the Mission code says that for discount stores and discount superstores in the East Gateway overlay district that the building footprint cannot exceed 50 percent of the gross square footage of the building or 50,000 square feet, whichever is less. The proposed Walmart building is 155,000 square feet all on one story, so the footprint exceeds the maximum in the standard. The same zoning section places restrictions on the size of surface parking lots connected to discount superstores. A 2012 design for the Gateway project had a second story of retail on top of the Walmart.

The code allows the planning commission to grant exceptions to the superstore limitations in an MXD district. The city has overlay districts for the East Gateway, West Gateway and Downtown districts.

Developer Tom Valenti was also asked during the planning commission review of the preliminary site plan about adding a green roof to the Walmart. “We can’t afford a green roof,” on Walmart, Valenti said, but added that the roof would be screened from surrounding viewpoints.

A reader also asked about elevators for the three story parking structure last week. Murray says no elevators are shown in the preliminary drawings for the parking structure.