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Burbank Walmart Blocked

Burbank Walmart Blocked

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge today blocked construction of a Walmart in Burbank, saying the environmental impact report prepared for the project was flawed and the city failed to complete street improvements around the area where the store was planned.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Allan Goodman ruled that the city acted “in a manner not authorized by law” when it approved plans for the Walmart superstore.

The Burbank City Council approved the Walmart in February 2012 at the site of a former Sears The Great Indoors store in the Empire Center, where Buena Vista Avenue intersects Victory Boulevard and Empire Avenue.

Opponents of the project sued, contending that having a Walmart at the site would violate a zoning law banning grocery stores in the center. They also maintained the location lacks required parking and that the city failed to complete traffic mitigation required by law in order to relieve congestion and gridlock.

A different judge last year issued an injunction blocking any construction on the project and suspending building permits. That injunction was lifted earlier this year, but Walmart opted not to resume work on the store while the lawsuit was pending.

Walmart officials have said the project would create construction and retail jobs and generate needed tax revenues for the city, along with providing affordable shopping options.

Burbank resident Shanna Ingalsbee, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the store, hailed Goodman's ruling as a sign that “giant corporations like Walmart need to play by the rules just like every other resident and business in Burbank.”

“We feel they used their money and influence to circumvent the rules that protect our community, and thankfully the court has held them to account, preserving our city and the integrity of our laws and neighborhoods,” Ingalsbee said.

The decision came one day before a series of planned protests across the country calling for better wages for Walmart workers. The Los Angeles march is scheduled for 11 a.m., stretching from Pershing Square to the site of a proposed Walmart neighborhood market near Chinatown.

 

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