Friends and foes of a planned PriceCostco warehouse store in Westlake Village have put their arguments on hold while a judge deliberates on a motion to require a new environmental study.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert H. O'Brien told city officials he would announce his decision soon, said Westlake Village City Manager Ray Taylor.
The city contends that a 1989 environmental impact report shows that the project will not hurt the area's quality of life. But foes contend the study was inadequate and want another done. Meanwhile, the project cannot go forward until O'Brien rules on the issue.
Opponents sued in an effort to block the project, which was approved in April by the City Council. Named in the lawsuit are the city of Westlake Village, the City Council, PriceCostco Inc. and Richland Properties Limited, a Florida-based developer.
The developers had hoped to begin construction at the end of July, said Frank P. Angel, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing United Communities Against PriceCostco. Opponents want to delay the start of construction, on the belief that they would not be able to halt the project once building begins, Angel said.
PriceCostco plans to build a 136,000-square-foot store in a 296,000-square-foot shopping center at Lindero Canyon Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard. It is part of the Westlake North Specific Plan, approved in 1989, which allows for 1.4 million square feet for offices, business park, commercial uses and condominiums on a 130-acre tract near the Ventura Freeway.
Opponents contend the plan will increase traffic, noise and crime, but city officials say Westlake Village is legally bound to approve the project under a development agreement that requires the city to pay up to $3 million in damages if it does not.
PriceCostco executives said the store will generate $1 million annually in sales-tax revenue for the city and provide about 200 jobs paying about $30,000 a year.