ATASCADERO — Save Atascadero filed a lawsuit against the city of Atascadero on Aug. 9 that challenges the city’s actions made on June 26 in regard to the Walmart/Annex.
According to city attorney Brian Pierik, the lawsuit could delay the project at least a year or more.
The petition, filed by Mark R. Wolfe and John H. Farrow of M.R. Wolfe and Associates, P.C. of San Francisco, the attorneys for Save Atascadero, says that the lawsuit challenges the city’s actions that certified the environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act, public resources code section 21000 et seq., and that approved a general plan amendment, zoning ordinance text and map amendment, specific plan, specific plan master plan of development, tree removal permits and vesting tentative parcel maps for the Del Rio Road Commercial Area Special Plan.
“Save Atascadero had no alternative but to seek relief in court,” Save Atascadero spokesman Tom Comar wrote in a press release issued Wednesday. “Neither the Atascadero Planning Commission, with the exception of one member, nor the city council did their ‘due diligence’ in assessing, deliberating, and ensuring that CEQA standards were met by the state-mandated environmental impact report before approving the project.”
Comar went on to write that city staff, the planning commission and city council “failed” the citizens of Atascadero by “willfully ignoring the testimony of experts and informed citizens, that highlighted insufficiencies, inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the EIR data and the lack of pertinent data.”
“For both pro and anti-Walmart supporters, rest assured if or when the project comes, we want it to be the best project, the most environmentally mitigated project that is feasible to meet CEQA standards or even to exceed those standards,” Comar wrote.
Engineering Development Associates, Inc., Montecito Bank & Trust, Omni Design Group, Inc., The Rottman Group, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Does I through XXV are listed as real parties in interest.
Pierik said the process would include preparing an administrative record, certified by the city clerk and filed by the court.
Then, Pierik said that the attorneys for the real parties of interest and the respondent (the city of Atascadero) will each have the opportunity to respond to the petitioner’s brief. Then a hearing would be set.
He said how long it takes would depend on how long it takes to prepare an administrative record and what the brief schedule would be.
“This legal challenge is technical and will be fought out in the court room through the testimony of experts, not in the press or letters to the editor,” Comar wrote.
This story was originally published in the Atascadero News on Aug. 21, 2012.