Rezoning make sense for grocery complex

The rezoning given preliminary approval Tuesday evening for City Market-owned property at the corner of 12th Street and Patterson Road is both expected and long overdue.

It is expected because when the City Council approved a growth-plan amendment for the 8.6 acres last year, it was the giant first step in the development process that is expected to lead to a new grocery store and retail complex at the site.

It is long overdue because three times in the past 25 years companies have sought approval for a grocery store on the site, only to have their plans thwarted by the public or City Council.

Yet it’s hard to fathom what would be more appropriate at the busy intersection than a grocery store and retail complex. The property in question lies across 12th Street from one retail center. And retail businesses dot nearby stretches of Patterson Road.

True, some folks thought City Market should have acted altruistically and donated the land for a city park. But, if the city really wanted that property for a park, it could have attempted to purchase it. Besides, 8.6 acres at a busy corner — with room taken out for parking — would have provided a marginal park, at best.

Some previous members of the City Council argued against the project a few years ago because they questioned the need for a grocery store in that vicinity. But determining whether there is a market is something that should be left to private companies and their planning teams, not government apparatchiks.

Our biggest concern with this is that the city didn’t take a holistic look at traffic flows along Patterson Road before it approved major new developments elsewhere along the east-west artery. However, despite complaints from some people, it’s far from certain whether the new grocery store complex will generate a great deal of additional traffic on Patterson, or whether
it will simply pull in motorists already using the road.

The rezoning approved Tuesday by the Grand Junction Planning Commission eliminates the residential zoning on the property and places the entire 8.6 acres in the same commercial designation.

We hope the City Council will give its stamp of approval to what the planning commission has done and allow the project to move on in the development process.


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