When WinCo Foods recently announced plans to build a supermarket at the site of the vacant Roseburg Kmart, company officials said they had been looking to open a store here for more than a decade. Now that those plans have formally been submitted to the city, it appears the project is on the fast track for approval.
The Roseburg Planning Commission on Monday signaled its approval for the project, following several weeks of written exchanges between WinCo Foods and the group Safe Streets Roseburg, which opposes the development.
Safe Streets Roseburg, through its Eugene attorney Sean Malone, has raised concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety at the site. Malone said a traffic study done on behalf of WinCo Foods was insufficient and more needed to be done to protect shoppers entering and leaving the proposed store.
“Opponents of this application are concerned about safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists given the increased traffic that will result from the project,” Malone wrote in one letter to the planning commission. “Importantly, the level of traffic from this proposal will create congestion not seen in years, if ever. The former store at this location ceased operation in 2017, and, therefore, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists will be subject to a significant increase in traffic.”
WinCo officials countered that any increase in traffic will be minimal, and said they had taken measures to mitigate any potential problems. Those measures included a new median along part of Stewart Parkway and a traffic signal that forbids right turns on a red light.
“I feel like this is safe, I feel like it’s the same standard that we’ve had for other businesses, and I feel like we’ve met pedestrian safety,” Planning Commissioner Stephanie Newman said Monday. “I really do feel like it met all of the codes.”
The Boise-based supermarket chain has submitted plans that calls for demolishing the old Kmart and replacing it with a slightly smaller WinCo. Once construction begins the store should open in about a year, WinCo officials have said.
The Kmart building, located at 2757 NW Stewart Parkway, covers 88,000 square feet. The new WinCo store would also be single-story and spread out over just under 73,000 square feet. The store will be open around-the-clock.
WinCo plans to reconfigure the parking lot, install new landscaping and perform other improvements to the site, which covers about 9.45 acres. The property also contains the Big 5 Sporting Goods building at 2655 NW Stewart Parkway. WinCo has said it has no plans to change the current business operations of Big 5.
WinCo, which stands for the words “Winning Company” combined, dates back to 1967, when two Boise businessmen founded a discount store called Waremart. The name of the company was changed to WinCo Foods in 1999. The employee-owned supermarket chain is known for its bulk items and low prices.
On Feb. 1, WinCo opened new stores in Bend, and in Wenatchee, Washington. The openings represented the 23rd WinCo Foods store in each state.
Two other stores opened in Montana in late February. That brings the total number of stores to 133 in 11 states, with more than 20,000 employees.
WinCo also has six distribution centers, including one in Tri City that employs more than 50 people.
The next step in the process is for the Planning Commission to adapt the finding of facts presented by WinCo. That has been scheduled for a May 17 meeting. If the Planning Commission decision is appealed, it would come before the City Council. And if the City Council’s decision is appealed, it would go to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.
The Planning Commission on Monday also approved plans for Ash Springs Apartments, a 105-unit complex on 7 acres located at 311 NE Pomona St., along Diamond Lake Boulevard. The site is just north of Oak Springs Apartments, an 89-unit apartment complex on a 5-acre site at 331 NE Pomona St. Both complexes are planned as two-story buildings featuring two-bedroom, two bath apartments. Timberview Construction Inc. is the developer for both properties.