Not everyone on board with proposed shopping center near Visalia

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A proposed shopping center is causing some concerns in the South Valley, but developers say their plan works with everyone. The development called Sequoia Gateway Commercial and Business Park would be located on a parcel of land southeast of Highway 99 and Caldwell Avenue; that's west of the city of Visalia.

If everything goes according to plan, Tulare County says you could start seeing development there as early as spring 2016. However, there's likely going to be a push back from neighboring cities and businesses.

Developers believe the spot is perfect. They've submitted a proposal to Tulare County to build the Sequoia Gateway project there -- creating a corridor of shops, restaurants and hotels. Right now, the county is waiting for an environmental impact study. They also need a completed market analysis before taking the idea to the public.

"We'll probably have some public outreach or community meetings," Tulare County's Resource Management Director Mike Spata said.

Spata knows there will be concerns from local businesses and neighboring cities.

Visalia City Manager Mike Olmos sent a letter to the county outlining his concerns when the project initially announced.

"When you establish a development away from the community, you have the potential to impact that community," he said.

Olmos is concerned businesses along Mooney Boulevard and in downtown will lose customers because more people will be heading to Sequoia Gateway.

Stephen Peck, the project planner, tells Action News in a statement:

"The Sequoia Gateway project aligns with both the City of Visalia's and Tulare County's General Plans. It has the potential to capture substantial highway commercial business, thereby providing a critical opportunity for economic growth in the Tulare County."

The project is going to be built in phases. Phase 1 and 2 includes hotels and restaurants. Phase 3 contains retail and it isn't expected to be built until 10 years after the county approves the project. The county says it's structured in those phases so no existing businesses will be impacted.

There will be a 45 to 60 day public review period. The board of supervisors will ultimately vote to approve this project.

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