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Burbank Wal-Mart store dispute to go to trial Aug. 17

A judge will consider stalling renovations on the planned Wal-Mart site. Opponents say the city needs to further study the retailer's environmental impact.

July 29, 2012|By Mark Kellam, Los Angeles Times

The legal battle to stop a Wal-Mart from opening in Burbank is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 17, when a judge will consider an injunction seeking to halt renovations on the building that will house the new store.

Three Burbank residents who filed suit seeking to stop the renovation of the former Great Indoors site are demanding that more be done to study the economic and environmental impact of the world's largest retailer moving in next to the Empire Center.

In the motion, the trio say that Wal-Mart gave notice in a letter to its attorney that it planned to start improvements last week.

The three women are represented by attorney Gideon Kracov, who is also legal counsel for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770. Wal-Mart representatives said the union, which has repeatedly failed to unionize the company's workforce, has an ax to grind.

In May, the three women filed the lawsuit against the city seeking to block the issuance of building permits to Wal-Mart. The suit argued that the retail giant would have a far greater impact than the city's findings indicated.

But in its counter-motion, the city argued that another environmental impact review isn't needed because Wal-Mart is considered a big-box store, which is allowed at the location. The plaintiffs say that the planned sale of groceries moves it out of the big-box category.

The city's counter-motion cites the Empire Center's entitlements for the section of development where the new Wal-Mart is slated, and says that the city allows stores such as a Super Kmart, which sells groceries, to operate.

mark.kellam@latimes.com

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