By Jonathan Morales
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 4:04 pm in Moraga.
It didn’t take long for someone to appeal the Moraga Planning Commission’s decision on the Dollar Tree application. But the appeal has come not from residents opposed to the store, but from Dollar Tree itself.
Here’s the e-mail sent to Planning Director Lori Salamack by Dollar Tree attorney Scott Kipnis:
As you know, we are national real estate counsel to Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (“Dollar Tree”). In reference to the planning commission hearing held yesterday, September 20, 2010, and in accordance with our conversation of today, Dollar Tree as applicant hereby appeals the conditions of approval imposed upon Dollar Tree’s approved permitted use. Dollar Tree will provide a detailed basis of the appeal within the time set forth in the Municipal Code, Moraga California, Title 8, Chapter 8.12 upon its receipt of the written details setting forth the scope and nature of the conditions of use which Dollar Tree finds objectionable.
Dollar Tree representative Linda Duncan on Monday said the store felt many of the conditions of approval were subjective and thus unfair, but declined to say specifically which conditions Dollar Tree found objectionable.
At least one resident opposed to the store had told the commission they would appeal if the application was approved, but now that isn’t necessary. The hearing before the Town Council will be a “de novo” hearing, meaning the council will treat it as a new hearing on the matter and all issues relating to the application can be raised. Because of that, said planning assistant Kelly Clancy, the town only takes one appeal.
But for opponents of the Dollar Tree, that’s an important distinction. If they had gotten their appeal in first, the opponents would be considered the formal appellants and thus granted allotted time equal to that granted the Dollar Tree (as applicants) at the hearing. But now the Dollar Tree is both applicant and appellant, meaning opponents will be limited to the public comment period (and its ensuing three-minute time limit) and e-mails or letters to the town.