Public hearing for Avalon Vons set for Aug. 4

AVALON — August in Avalon could kick off with a debate of whether to go forward with a plan to build a new Vons market on Sumner Avenue.

Avalon’s City Council will hold a public hearing Aug. 4 to deliberate a proposal to consolidate two small Vons locations on Catalina Island into a single, larger supermarket at the upper edge of downtown. Council members and local residents will discuss an appeal of the adopted Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring Plan.

The proposed Vons on Sumner Avenue would feature its own parking lot and only offer groceries and other basic goods. The new market would not include many products or services offered at full-sized Vons’ on the mainland, such as an on-site pharmacy.

A major worry is whether the city should be building a large supermarket at the same time it is dealing with a serious drought and urging residents and visitors to restrict water use. Others wonder if the proposed Vons, which would occupy about 20,000 square feet at 234 Sumner Avenue, would increase traffic congestion in an already busy portion of Avalon’s downtown.

A blog post by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce cited a city-funded traffic study to address congestion concerns.

“The proposed project would not result in any significant impacts relative to existing traffic conditions at the intersections of Beacon and Sumner and Beacon and Catalina,” the blog post stated about the study. “The study further states ‘no traffic mitigation measures are needed’ … [and] ‘the proposed parking supply is expected to meet the needs of Vons patrons during the great majority of the time.’”

There are currently two Vons locations in Avalon: a full-service market on Metropole Avenue and a Vons Express on Catalina Avenue. If current plans are realized, both market locations would shut down and merge with the larger Vons proposed to be built at 234 Sumner.

No other grocery stores exist on the island, which is home to more than 4,000 year-round residents and receives more than 700,000 annual visitors.

The public hearing will be held Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers, 410 Avalon Canyon Road.

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