Santa Rosa Planning Commission to reconsider Target approval

The Santa Rosa Planning Commission voted Thursday to reconsider the permit it granted for a Target store at Coddingtown mall, citing inaccurate employment information provided by a company executive.

The commission voted 3-2 to revisit its June 14 vote approving the permit for a 143,000-square-foot store on the site of the former Gottschalks building.

Commissioner Caroline Banuelos said she wants new jobs to be created in Santa Rosa as much as anyone, but felt the commission should revote based on accurate data.

"I really think that anytime you take a vote the information has to be accurate, otherwise, in some ways, it's a tainted vote," Banuelos said.

Commissioner David Poulsen said he thought taking another vote was a bad idea because it would delay a project seen as helping revitalize the aging mall.

"I believe this is just a barrier to getting jobs quickly into our community," Poulsen said.

The decision means the commission will re-vote on the use permit at its July 12 meeting.

John Dewes, a Target regional development manager, apologized to the commission for giving it wrong information about the company's full-time to part-time employment ratio.

At the previous meeting, Dewes told the commission 60 percent of Target employees are full-time. He made the statement to rebut a claim by Marty Bennett, co-chair of the Sonoma County Living Wage Coalition, that most of the 200 to 250 jobs at the new store would be part-time and 37 percent of employees would receive health insurance.

In fact, between 35 and 45 percent of Target workers are full-time, with the balance being part-timers, Dewes explained in a follow-up letter to the commission. He said he had "unintentionally inverted" the full-time and part-time figures.

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