BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — A judge has taken action to temporarily stop Walmart from building its superstore in Burbank amid ongoing opposition from residents.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien ruled Thursday that the city failed to show that it properly issued the building permits to the mega-retailer. He directed city officials to suspend its approval of the building permits for the project, pending trial in the case.
Opponents contend having a Walmart in the Empire Center would violate a zoning law banning grocery stores in that facility. The center, located along the 5 Freeway, features a Lowe’s Home Improvement, Target, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and several restaurants.
Residents also complain that the center doesn’t have enough parking to accommodate the superstore.
O’Brien ruled the public “will be harmed if the activity allowed by the permits were to go forward now…”
“We’re disappointed in today’s ruling because the building permits issued to Walmart are no different than the 1,300 other building permits that have been issued over the past 12 years to construct the entire Empire Center,” Walmart spokeswoman Rachel Wall said. “This shortsighted ruling will only delay us from delivering much needed jobs in the construction and retail industry, needed tax revenue, and an opportunity for residents to have more affordable shopping options in their community. We are reviewing our options to challenge this decision.”
An spokesman for the city could not be immediately reached.
In February, the Burbank City Council approved a Walmart superstore to move into the spot where a former Sears store once stood.
The petitioners filed their complaint May 4, alleging the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act in issuing building permits without a review of the potential impacts of the store on traffic, crime and job loss.
Attorneys for the city and the retail giant maintained Walmart was not required to conduct such a study.
“This is a victory for the residents and businesses in Burbank,” petitioner and longtime Burbank resident Shanna Ingalsbee said. “We’re happy we can shine a light on Walmart’s actions and the need to follow the
development rules in our community.”
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