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Wal-Mart Should Keep Off Hillside

September 06, 1993

* As a 20-year resident and a member of the Simi Valley City Council, I feel compelled to speak out against the hillside location of the proposed Wal-Mart. Creating jobs and revitalizing our ailing economy are certainly priorities, but they need not be done at the expense of the environment. Viable options exist that would allow for both construction of Wal-Mart and environmental preservation.

A city ordinance exists to protect against any arbitrary development or construction on hillsides. This ordinance was adopted to prevent the inevitable destruction of landscape that results when hillside projects begin to multiply. However, several years ago, the City Council passed a specific plan that would allow construction of a top-notch regional mall on the hillside between Sycamore and Erringer, just north of the Simi Valley Freeway. Not only was the proposal subjected to severe scrutiny, but the developer, Mel Simon, guaranteed the City Council that the regional mall would have a minimal environmental impact and would enhance the hillside with an aesthetically agreeable structure. In approving the site, the City Council passed Mr. Simon's guarantee on to the people of Simi Valley.

Recently, Wal-Mart has approached the city about building a structure on this preapproved site. The Wal-Mart store would be totally unrelated to the regional mall, thereby not carrying with it the regional mall's guarantee of minimal environmental impact. Allowing another party to construct an arbitrary structure on this site not only defeats the purpose of the hillside ordinance but betrays the trust that the people of Simi Valley have conferred upon their elected officials.

There are several other sites in our community where Wal-Mart could be built. By looking at these other sites we can still create jobs, increase our tax base and at the same time continue to safeguard our hillsides. If, however, Wal-Mart refuses to consider any sites except the hillside location, I assure Simi Valley residents that I will oppose the plan in any given vote, if so directed by the residents of Simi Valley.

As elected officials, we owe it to ourselves and our constituents to keep our promises and protect our environment.


Simi Valley

Barbara Williamson is a member of the Simi Valley City Council. The Ventura County Edition of The Times welcomes the views of readers. Letters should be as brief as possible and are subject to condensation. They must include signature, valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used. Send letters to: Ventura County Editor, Los Angeles Times, 5200 Valentine Road, Suite 140, Ventura 93003.

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