Supreme Court refuses to hear Merced Wal-Mart case
March 14, 2013
• Clears last legal hurdle to construction
• Distribution center may create 1,200 jobs
The California Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a 5th District Court of Appeal ruling that found no problems with the environmental impact report for a long-planned Wal-Mart distribution center in Merced, the city says.
Three Merced residents and the Merced Alliance for Responsible Growth had sued, contending the city’s EIR for the project did not adequately assess the project’s impacts on air quality, hydrology and water quality, traffic, urban decay, visual impacts, and greenhouse gases and global climate change.
The city also won the initial case in Merced County Superior Court brought by MARG and others.
Wal-Mart plans to build a 1.2 million square-foot warehouse and distribution center on Childs Avenue in the University Industrial Park. The site is on land zoned for industrial use near the Mission Interchange.
The center would initially employ about 600 people and ultimately it could employ 1,200 workers, the city says. It is expected that the 1,200 Wal-Mart Center jobs could lower the County’s jobless rate of 14.7 percent by a full percentage point.
The center would operate 24-hours a day, 7-days a week and generate an estimated 450 truck trips into and out of the facility each day. The trucks will leave from one of the two gates on Gerard Avenue, going to the Campus Parkway and then onto Highway 99.
The project has been in the works for a while. Merced’s Economic Development Department has worked on it since 2002.
The city says it did not offer any financial subsidy, relief, property tax rebates, fee waivers, sales tax rebates or tax-free land for the project and that Wal-Mart is paying all of the required fees, which are expected to be approximately $3 million. Area schools are expected to receive more than $400,000 in fees from the Wal-Mart project.