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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Walnut : Mall Negotiations Stalled

August 01, 1993

Four months after developers hoping to build a 26-acre shopping mall in Walnut began meeting with residents to hammer out a compromise on the project, negotiations appear to have stalled.

"We're still insisting on our demands and Vestar (Development Co.) and Shea (Business Properties) have made a few concessions," said resident and project opponent Anita Flores. "But the concessions are next to nothing, compared to those on our list, mainly the size of the store. They refuse to downsize."

Developers were not available for comment.

The matter will be taken up again Aug. 9 by the Walnut Planning Commission, Flores said.

The proposed development, which includes a Target store and Vons Pavilions supermarket, is vehemently opposed by many residents, who claim that it will lower property values and destroy the exclusive nature of their semirural community by luring hordes of outsiders to shop.

Project supporters say Walnut, which is built to near-capacity with residential developments that exploded in the 1980s, desperately needs the sales-tax revenue that a large-scale shopping center will generate.

After 2,000 residents signed petitions criticizing the project and spoke their minds at volatile city meetings in March, the project was tabled and developers were instructed to meet with a residents committee in search of a middle ground.

Residents were dissatisfied with a plethora of project details ranging from tile color and wall and sign height to the configuration of parking spaces and concerns about possible hazardous conditions from truck traffic. Developers have bent to accommodate many of those concerns, Flores said, but strong opposition remains to the very concept of a high-density shopping center.

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