The State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the City of Merced in a case dealing with a planned Wal-Mart Distribution Center. The State Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal of a Fifth District Court of Appeal decision that found no problems with the City’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the project.
The plaintiffs in the case were three City residents and the Merced Alliance for Responsible Growth. They claimed the document 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 plaintiffs also took issue with some of the processes the City used in creating the EIR.
The City also won the initial case in 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. 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 City’s Economic Development Department has worked on the project since 2002. The City did not offer any financial subsidy, relief, property tax rebates, fee waivers, sales tax rebates or tax-free land for the project. 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.
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.