A California developer has gotten stuck in his own bumper-to-bumper traffic. Those pesky citizens in Temecula, California have been wreaking havoc on the timetable of a big box developer. Citizens taking legal action has made it impossible for a developer to get past the red light. A judge in Riverside County has ruled that a 150,000 s.f Wal-Mart development in Vail Ranch did not do a proper traffic study, and must now go back and redo the study. According to the Californian newspaper, Judge Dallas Holmes has stymied the Wal-Mart project twice in the past couple of years, in response to road capacity issues raised in legal action by the group Citizens First of Temecula Valley. The total project is 428,000 s.f., and is being proposed by developer Price Legacy, based in San Diego. The County Board of Supervisors gave the project a green light last summer, but Citizens First took them to court. The project, called Rehhawk Towne Center, encompasses 47 acres just outside of Temecula. Citizens First says the court ruling last week requires further construction work on the project to cease until another environmental impact study is conducted. According to local residents, the huge project includes a Kohl’s discount store as well as Wal-Mart. ” We’re also getting a Kohl’s along with the proposed supercenter,” one member of the group told Sprawl-Busters. “The Kohl’s was built in 4 months — during the court hearing period.?? The developer started the building of it and a Ross Dress for less and several other stores while we were waiting to go to court.?? Talk about arrogance and fast tracking.” ?? As a sweetener, the developer is planning to restore a 4 acre Vail Ranch site, which includes several historic buildings. But the offer is not as sweet as it appears, since the county has offered to use public tax dollars to help the city of Temecula pay for the $9 million restoration price tag, so the project is actually a form of corporate welfare, with Price Legacy only paying for part of the project. Citizens say the Wal-Mart scale is too large for the local roads, and note that the project would allow the company to expand the store by another 74,702 s.f. as proposed. Citizens First has asked Price Legacy to shrink the size of the store — something the developer has been unwilling to consider. The court ruling said the developer has to extend his traffic impact statement to cover longer than a one year timeframe, including a 20 year outlook. Citizens First filed their first lawsuit against this project back in 2000, again over the issue of inadequate traffic studies. The two rulings from Riverside County Superior Court mean that this timeline has now stretched for almost two and a half years.
For more information on the gridlock in Temecula, contact [email protected]