In a 3-2 vote the Tehachapi Planning Commission has given approval for a Super Walmart to be constructed in Tehachapi.
The vote came Monday night, Dec. 8, following a public hearing.
It was the second time the project has been approved by the Commission. Following the first approval in January 2012, an appeal was filed which sent the matter to the Tehachapi City Council. Litigation was filed by a group called "Tehachapi First," challenging the Council's approval of the project.
Tehachapi Community Development Director David James described the ruling of a judge which required the city to decertify its environmental impact report and do additional study in three areas — noise, water and traffic.
At meetings in 2012, hundreds of people packed the high school gym. Monday night's meeting, in a cold gym at Monroe High School, was attended by only about 100 people, many of them city staffers. Below-freezing weather and roads still icy from Saturday's snow storm probably kept people away. Many complained on Facebook, stating they thought the hearing should have been rescheduled.
There was brief deliberation following James' presentation and public comments. Two commissioners — Sonja Wilson and Marissa Folse — voted against the project, expressing concern about traffic. The remaining commissioners — Charles White, Mariana Teel and Daryl Christensen — cast "yes" votes on motions to certify the revised EIR and approve the plans.
Walmart has owned the property near the southeast corner of Tucker Road (which is also Highway 202) and Tehachapi Boulevard for a number of years. Previously the company has stated that construction would take about two years post-approval.
The Commission's decision must still be approved by the court, and that could be delayed if an appeal is filed to the City Council.
See additional coverage in next week's Tehachapi News.