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Atascadero Wal-Mart spurs lawsuit 

A group of Atascadero residents filed a lawsuit against the city for approving plans to build a Walmart.

On Aug. 9, the group Save Atascadero (formerly called Oppose Walmart) filed a lawsuit against the city of Atascadero claiming the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it approved the Del Rio Road Commercial Area Specific Plan on June 26. The group is being represented by the Bay Area law firm M. R. Wolfe & Associates, and has been fighting the planned development since 2006.

The plan calls for a 129,560-square-foot Walmart Supercenter, two additional 5,000-square-foot commercial lots, and as many as 44 multi-family residential units. In total, the project will encompass 39 acres.

In an Aug. 15 press release, Save Atascadero spokesman Tom Comar said, “The city staff, Planning Commission, and [City] Council failed the citizens of Atascadero.” Comar added, “For both pro and anti-Walmart supporters, rest assured if or when the project comes, we want it to be the best project, the most environmentally mitigated project that is feasible to meet CEQA standards or even to exceed those standards.”

In addition to citing the project’s potential environmental impacts, Save Atascadero said the city has signed on to contribute $2.5 million in traffic improvments “that we don’t have.”

Neither Save Atascadero attorney Mark R. Wolfe nor Atascadero city attorney Brian Pierik responded to requests for an interview.

The impacts of Save Atascadero’s lawsuit on the final project remain to be seen. Prior to this lawsuit, the project was scheduled to be finished in 2014.

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