A Napa judge ruled Tuesday that opponents to a planned American Canyon Wal-Mart Supercenter should pay the City of American Canyon, Wal-Mart, and developer Lake Street Ventures for the cost of defending themselves in a recent environmental lawsuit., but Loscotoff said Wal-Mart has to wait 60 days before it can petition for the money.We can only pray we'll see similar headlines here later this week.
The judgment entered by Napa Superior Court Judge Raymond Guadagni follows up on his July 15 ruling that two citizen groups, American Canyon Community United for Responsible Growth and Citizen's Against Poor Planning, did not prove the city of American Canyon ran afoul of state environmental laws when it approved the design of the Supercenter.
The store is due to be built near Highway 29 as the second phase of the Napa Junction mixed-use project, which includes retail stores, restaurants, apartments, affordable housing and a city park. Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Loscotoff said residents should notice construction starting again next week.
The city reserved a portion of the project for a big box store in 2003. After Wal-Mart announced its plan to build a Supercenter there in 2004, angry residents packed city meetings demanding the city reject the design of the store.
Instead, the city rejected their pleas, leading two citizens' groups to file lawsuits against the city, Wal-Mart and developers in November. The two cases were later combined, and Guadagni ruled for the city last month.
American Canyon City Attorney William Ross said he estimates the city could be owed between $10,000-$12,000 for filing fees and administrative costs. Ross said Guadagni's Tuesday judgment closes the book on the trial court portion of the case, leaving it up to Wal-Mart opponents if they want to appeal the ruling. He said there is some risk to Wal-Mart starting work that could be stopped again if opponents decide to appeal win a reversal of Guadagni's ruling.
Chris Scheuring, Sacramento-based attorney for Citizens Against Poor Planning, said after the July 15 ruling the group was mulling its chances at appeal. Scheuring and his partner, Tim Taylor, could not be reached Tuesday. Kathleen Shamet, Spokeswoman for American Canyon Community United, did not return phone calls.
Loscotoff said Wal-Mart will also try to claim a $180,000 bond put up by opponents in May to trigger a temporary halt to construction of the store until Guadagni ruled on the case
By the way, the Napa groups did appeal, and lost again.
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