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Wednesday, May 21 2014 05:00 AM

Tehachapi Walmart still pending

Tehachapi's wait for a Walmart supercenter continues, since the City Council approved a revised report on Jan. 27 required by a Kern County judge.

City Manager Greg Garrett on May 13 said that progress has been slow since the report was returned to Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman's office.

"We are waiting on the courts and Judge Twisselman's clerk to put it on the calendar," Garrett said.

The proposed Walmart store has been stalled at one turn or another for nearly three years.

In 2011, a group known as Tehachapi First filed a lawsuit against the city of Tehachapi on the grounds that the city violated several provisions of the original environmental impact report. An EIR is required for any major development per the California Environmental Quality Act.

In April 2012, Twisselman ordered the city to conduct a new EIR on issues specific to traffic, water supply and noise.

Since then, the city has gone through the required hoops, with the new report approved in a 3-2 vote by the planning commission on Dec. 8, 2013, followed by the 5-0 vote by the city council on Jan. 27, 2014.

The Walmart site is located near the southeast corner of Tehachapi Boulevard and Tucker Road.

Some of remedies for traffic included a raised median along Tucker Road from Tehachapi Boulevard to Valley Boulevard, as well as two traffic signal lights at the Tehachapi Junction center on Tehachapi Boulevard and the other on Tucker Road. Walmart would foot the bill for the traffic signal lights.

Garrett said now it's just a matter of playing the waiting game with the court.

"We look forward to hearing from Judge Twisselman's clerk," Garrett said. "We were told that (cases like this) are typically fast-tracked instead of creating new cases."

A cautiously optimistic guess, he added, would be that the matter pops up on the calendar within the next 60 days, but it remains a tentative estimate at best.

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