Warrenton - Home Depot continues marching forward with plans to build a store in Warrenton. At its meeting Tuesday, the Warrenton City Commission approved a zone change from residential to general commercial for the home improvement chain's site on the east side of U.S. Highway 101 at Dolphin Road. The company hopes to complete the store by spring 2007.

On a 4 to 0 vote, with Dick Hellberg absent, the Commission adopted an ordinance amending its zoning map to reflect the change, with Mayor Gil Gramson and commissioners Mark Kujala, Terry Ferguson and Frank Orrell voting in favor. The Commission also unanimously adopted a resolution affirming the planning commission's decision to deny an appeal of Home Depot's subdivision and site design applications by Peter Ettro.

Ettro, a Lake Oswego accountant with ties to the area, purchased a house on Alternate Highway 101 adjacent to the store's planned parking lot. Ettro will have additional opportunities to oppose aspects of the Home Depot project, as well as Lum's Auto Center's plans to relocate on Alternate Highway 101 from Astoria. Ettro said earlier the house and lot he bought in April 2005 is a development investment, and he hopes Home Depot will purchase it from him for much more than the $220,000 he paid for it.

The proposed Home Depot store will have a $4.5 million payroll and employ 155 people. Company officials have said 70 percent of them will be full-time and 85 percent will be from the local area, and their wages will be higher than average for Clatsop County. The 102,000 square-foot store will have a 28,000 square-foot attached garden center. Its back wall will be on the highway side, and its parking lot and outdoor display area will be in front of the store. Access will be from a new road, Dolphin Lane, that will connect U.S. 101 with Alternate 101.

Home Depot will pay to construct the new road and a four-way traffic light at the U.S. 101 intersection.

In other business, the Commission voted unanimously to donate $260 directly to Special Olympics, rather than using the money to pay for the organization to use the Community Center for a fundraiser, as had been requested. The money is to be used to cover costs for transportation, uniforms and other expenses associated with a Special Olympics event in Portland this summer.

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