Now you see it, now you don’t. Officials in Lodi, California had their plans turned upside down just before Xmas, when a San Joaquin County judge ruled that the city’s approval of a Wal-Mart Supercenter was invalid because their environmental impact report failed to take into account other Wal-Mart stores and energy consumption. Judge Elizabeth Humphreys found that the city’s EIR did cover air quality and agricultural land, but left out how the new supercenter would affect Lodi, given the fact that there are already two other Wal-Mart Supercenters in nearby Stockton. One resident against the supercenter from the group Lodi First, sent the following report to Sprawl-Busters: “The lawsuit brought against Wal-Mart, the developer, and the City of Lodi was successful! The suit addressed the inadequacy of the EIR because it did not take into account the now-open Supercenter on Hammer Lane (off Hwy 99) in Stockton and the proposed Supercenter on Eight Mile Rd. (off I-5), along with proposed centers in Galt, Elk Grove, Sacramento, etc. It also addressed the issue of the zoning for that parcel of land. It’s current zoning is neighborhood commercial and the supercenter is considered to be regional commercial. We don’t know if the developer and Wal-Mart are going to appeal the judge’s decision, or if they’ll just redo the EIR.” The city and Wal-Mart can appeal the ruling or conduct another environmental impact study. Lodi First raised the funds to challenge the environmental impact study. They say the project will cause urban decay because it result in the closing of other stores, creating more empty buildings and blight.
Several citizens groups in California have taken what others considered a “done deal” and challenged a city’s sloppy environmental work in the courts. For similar stories, search by “Bakersfield” or “environmental impact.” For earlier stories about this city’s controversial battle with Wal-Mart, search by “Lodi.”