They can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales-tax revenue, but monster retail outlets – such as Wal-Mart and Costco – are no longer welcome in Salinas if they include grocery sections jammed with untaxable products.
At the urging of a mostly union opposition, and in the face of equally ardent support for Super Wal-Mart-like stores, the City Council Tuesday approved on a 5-2 vote – with Mayor Dennis Donohue and Councilwoman Janet Barnes opposed – a ban on “combined” big retail operations that try to super-size by offering aisle after aisle of discount groceries, fresh-baked pies and hot-from- the-rotisserie chickens.
That appears to kill plans for a Super Wal-Mart store in the former Home Depot at the Harden Ranch shopping center, which would bring the number of Wal-Marts in Salinas to two.
But the new ordinance isn’t retroactive, so Costco won’t be told to close its grocery operations.
Under the ban, so-called big-box stores with more than 90,000 square feet in retail floor space are prohibited from devoting more than 5 percent of that space to the sale of non-taxable items – in effect, groceries.