Los Angeles Business Journal

Burbank Won’t Appeal Ruling Blocking Wal-Mart

By Business Journal Staff Monday, November 11, 2013

Burbank has decided not to appeal a ruling that blocked the opening of a new Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlet at the city’s Empire Center.

The decision comes in response to a September ruling by L.A. County Superior Court Judge Allan Goodman, who ordered the city rescind permits allowing the Bentonville, Ark. retailer from opening a 143,000-square-foot store.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, Vice-Mayor Dave Gordon and Councilman Bob Frutos voted not to appeal, while councilmembers Jess Talamantes and Gary Bric voted in favor of issuing an appeal.

Wal-mart intends to continue the legal battle and will file an appeal, though no timetable is available yet.

“We are committed to the Burbank store and to bringing business back to the long-vacant, former retail space,” said Rachel Wall, senior manager of community affairs for Wal-Mart, in an email.

The company had proposed opening a supercenter in a closed Great Indoors home furnishing store. Burbank granted permits without requiring an environmental review, prompting the lawsuit.

In Goodman’s ruling, he said the city should have conducted an environmental assessment on the space and added that the city also failed to complete traffic mitigation measures for the opening of the store at 1301 N. Victory Place, which is also near a Costco.

Wal-Mart, which has faced challenges from several communities, proposed the store two years ago as part of a new strategy to open stores at existing retail centers, which would require fewer permits and a presumably an easier path than building stores.