Gilbert voters will decide the fate of a property zoned to accommodate a "big-box" store during a special election this fall.
The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hold a Sept. 9 special election in response to a referendum petition filed last month by former Councilman Mike Evans.
Evans is hoping to overturn the commercial zoning that allows a big-box store in the 53-acre Santan Towne Center, which was originally expected to open in October 2004 at Gilbert and Germann roads.
Evans said he believes a Wal-Mart Supercenter is planned for the property. Gilbert officials and Vestar Development said the site will be home to a SuperTarget or Target Greatland. Evans said the stores would drive other grocery chains from the area, giving residents fewer options.
The council had the option Tuesday to rescind its zoning ordinance on the 175-acre property, which includes the Santan Towne Center, call a special election or wait until the next regularly scheduled Gilbert election in March 2005. Sept. 9 was the earliest election date available. The election is expected to cost about $75,000.
"We need to get it out and get it settled, one way or another," Councilman Don Skousen said.
Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman said the town expects to lose $300,000 a month in sales tax revenue because of the delay caused by the referendum.
"For a very small price, the (United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99) will cost the town a tremendous amount of money. That’s what’s sad," Berman said.
Evans is the chair of the political committee, Citizens for Controlled Growth, which received a $3,000 donation from UFCW Local 99 last month, according to the campaign finance report that lists contributions made between Feb. 20 and March 31.
Individuals with ties to Vestar Development donated $2,300 to Berman’s "Mayor Again" committee and $2,300 to council candidate Daryl Colvin between the same period. Berman is Colvin’s campaign manager.