Newsflash recently carried two stories about a Judge’s decision in Kern County,California that literally stopped construction on two Wal-Mart supercenters, because the city had failed to do a proper environmental impact study, in keeping with California’s Environmental Quality Review Act (CEQRA). The complete halt of construction on two Wal-Mart supercenters seemed too good to be true. And that’s just what it was. The Associated Press reported March 27th, that in fact the Kern County Judge has been overuled by a higher court. An Appeals court cleared the way for construction to resume on two Bakersfield shopping malls that will be anchored by Wal-Mart Supercenters. The 5th District Court of Appeals overturned the lower court decision. The Appeals court ruling provides that attorneys for both sides will negotiate over environmental issues, while the stores get completed. That effectively gives the opposition little left to talk about, since any concerns they have will not stop the stores from being built. So much for protecting the environment. The AP story did not provide any details of the court decision, or the findings that allowed the court to come to the rescue of the developer.
I am so happy that the electrical contractor from Bakersfield who emailed me to blame me for the delay, is now free to get his people back to work on that wonderful Lowe’s store that will be part of one Wal-Mart mall. Bakersfield needs more big box stores to finish the important work that the city has begun to clean out its small business merchants. Bakersfield, which used to be called “the armpit of California,” can now boast it is the temporary Big Box Center of the state, as more and more developers take advantage of the sprawling pattern of growth in Bakersfield. For earlier stories, search Newflash by the city’s name.