All it took was the huge shadow of a proposed Wal-Mart to spur citizens in Victorville, California to form a group to stop it. The Citizens for Sensible Development (CSD) has been organizing to stop the Rothbart Development Corp of Los Angeles, California from building the proposed supercenter on the edge of the city. According to CSD, the city of Victorville is very pro-business, and is currently considering no less than three Wal-Mart supercenters within the city, plus two others in nearby cities. The specific location chosen by Wal-Mart is considered by many to be an inappropriate location.”We just think they’ve chosen a location that’s inappropriate,” CSD spokesman Scott Eckert told the Daily Press newspaper. “It’s huge,” Eckert said. “There’s nothing like it around.” CSD has collected more than 700 signatures of area resaidents against the plan. The group’s main concern is the thousands of cars that would be added to the already congested area of Bear Valley Road and Spring Valley Lake Parkway. “The traffic problem is the least solvable,” Eckert said. “We don’t know what they’re going to do.” CSD also objects to the location because it’s situated near the area’s middle school and a junior high school now being built.” From a legal perspective, the strongest argument against the project is that the land Rothbart wants is not properly zoned for a superstore. The land is designated as “administrative/professional,” and Wal-Mart needs a zone-change approval from the city’s planning commission. Wal-Mart’s three site plans are pending before the Planning Commission. One is on the east side of Victorville, near Spring Valley Lake; another is on the west side of town near Highway 395, and the third location is at Dunia Plaza along Bear Valley Road. By taking a shotgun approach in Victorville, if one or two projects get shot down, at least one superstore will remain. Each project is expected to go through the California Environmental Review Act process, giving opponents more opportunity to legally challenge Wal-Mart’s “Three Amigos” in Victorville.
Residents opposed to the multiple Wal-Marts in Victorville will need more than petitions to stop these developments. They will need a land use attorney, and possibly a traffic engineer. Without legal opposition, the city bill pave over this area, and choke on its own retail saturation. These proposed Wal-Mart supercenters will cannibalize the existing Wal-Mart discount stores in the area. There are already two Wal-Mart discount stores within 5 miles of these Victorville locations, including one in Victorville itself. Wal-Mart recently assured Wall Street analysts that it was going to slow down the number of planned new stores. But the trio of stores planned for Victorville shows the absurdity of that promise. For local contacts fighting Wal-Mart in Victorville, contact [email protected]