Save Atascadero group appeals judge's ruling on Walmart

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comJuly 16, 2013 

Anna Pence and other Walmart supporters wave fans handed out by Walmart to show support for the project at the June 26, 2012, Atascadero City Council meeting. Later in the evening, the council approved the project.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Citizens group Save Atascadero has appealed a judge’s decision earlier this year that said the city of Atascadero didn’t violate environmental laws when it approved construction of a Walmart shopping center for the north end of town.

City officials received notice of the appeal Tuesday, according to a statement from the city.

Before the lawsuit, Walmart was slated to open in Atascadero as early as 2014. City leaders have previously said litigation is expected to further delay construction of the store, possibly by several years.

Last summer, the citizens group, spearheaded by residents Tom Comar and Lee Perkins, filed a lawsuit to stop Walmart and an adjacent shopping center from being built so further study of their impacts to roads and air quality could be done. On June 10, 2013, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford ruled in favor of the city after a trial at the court's Paso Robles branch.

The lawsuit claimed the city violated state environmental laws by not fully vetting the shopping centers before the City Council approved the projects for El Camino Real and Del Rio Road in June 2012.

City leaders have long said they dedicated years of study, community meetings and public hearings on the developments and considered all aspects before approving them.

Save Atascadero has actively opposed bringing the shopping centers to town, prompting nearly seven years of debate and a failed ballot measure against building big-box stores.

The next steps for the city will be to respond to the appeals process by submitting documentation, court briefs and attend an appellate court hearing, according to the city.

“The hearing date with the Court of Appeal will not be known for some months, but it is expected that the hearing would be sometime in the spring or summer of 2014,” the city's statement said.

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