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Wednesday, Jan 08 2014 06:00 AM

Tehachapi First cites issues with EIR as reason for appeal

In support of their appeal to the Planning Commission's approval of proposed Walmart project, members of Tehachapi First --who are being represented by San Francisco-based attorney Mark Wolfe -- say there are still discrepancies that need to be addressed in the with the final Environmental Impact Report.

In a letter addressed to chairperson Charles White of the Planning Commission on Dec. 8, 2013, Mark Wolfe of Wolfe and Associates said not only was the public provided an insufficient amount of time to review the changes made to the report, but that the Final EIR still contains flaws in regards to its analyses on noise, water and traffic.

"Furthermore, our necessarily cursory review of the FEIR reveals that it is not responsive to the either the Writ of Mandate issued by the Court, or to the comments on the RDEIR submitted by agencies and members of the public," Wolfe wrote.

The Tehachapi Planning Commission voted 3-2 on Dec. 9 to allow the project to move forward and approved the revised environmental impact report.

Two of the five commissioners voted in opposition, including Sonja Wilson and Marisa Folse, who cited inconsistent or incomplete data in the final draft of the revised EIR as reasons not to move forward.

The final draft was released for public review on Thursday, Dec. 5 just four days before the public hearing.

"The [Final EIR] contains dozens of changes to the revised draft EIR and more than 100 pages of comment response and new analysis," the letter states. "It is unreasonable to expect the public to review and digest such a large volume of new material in so short a period of time."

On Dec. 18, Mark Wolfe filed an appeal of the Commission's decision, which requires the matter to be addressed by the Tehachapi City Council which previously approved the project.

City staff are working to set a time, date and place for the Tehachapi City Council to hear the appeal, according to Community Development Director David James.

Shannon Turner of Tehachapi First said the group's objections have not changed since the issue first arose.

"We feel the problems from the beginning are still the same problems," she said in a phone interview.

Christopher Zehnder of Tehachapi First said, "Our lawyer believes [there are] grounds to appeal. The initial assessment is that the EIR is still deficient."

Efforts to reach Attorney Mark Wolfe have not been successful.

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