Special Sections : Walmart

Wednesday, May 11 2011 02:42 PM

Public hearing on Walmart set for Jan. 10

The proposed Walmart super center, which would be built on the corner of Tehachapi Blvd. and Tucker Rd., will come before the Tehachapi Planning Commission on Monday, Jan. 10. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Bee-Kay Theatre, 110 S. Green St., Tehachapi. 


In June 2010 the draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed 165,000-square-foot Tehachapi Walmart project was released for public review and comment. Since that time the company which prepared the draft EIR filed for bankruptcy and in September the city engaged a new firm to prepare the Final EIR.

According to a notice published by the City of Tehachapi on Dec. 29, the draft EIR determined that the the project would have “significant and unavoidable impacts” resulting from cumulative traffic noise and cumulative traffic impacts on nearby intersections.

On Jan. 10, the planning commission will conduct a public hearing to hear comments, as well as accept written comments, and consider adopting a “Statement of Overriding Considerations.” 

The commission will also consider adoption of a “Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan” to implement the various mitigation measures which the draft EIR concluded would be necessary to offset various impacts of the project.

Mitigations outlined in the draft EIR, for instance, would require Walmart to pay into funds for traffic signals and other road improvements, as well as pay sewer connection fees and fund wastewater system improvements.

Approval by the planning commission would advance the project to the Tehachapi City Council which would have to approve it before construction could begin. CORRECTION: the matter will only advance to the Tehachapi City Council if a timely appeal, said to cost $2,000, is filed following the Planning Commission's decision. Watch for an update following the Planning Commission meeting Monday, Jan. 10.

The project, as proposed, includes 34,293 square feet for grocery sales. it would be located in the vicinity of Tucker Road and Tehachapi Boulevard, within the Tehachapi City Limits. According to a Walmart press release, the store would carry “everyday household items with the added convenience of a full-service grocery department, an expanded electronics department, a drive-through pharmacy and an outdoor garden center.”

In a press release last week, Walmart said that since first introducing its plan to build a new Walmart store in Tehachapi, more than 2,700 local residents have expressed support for the project. The company has set up a website (www.tehachapiwalmartcan.com) and done other outreach to solicit support which has included a letter-to-the-editor writing campaign.

While there have been objections to the Walmart project expressed by some, the Tehachapi News has not identified organized opposition.

“The support for a new Walmart store in Tehachapi has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to bringing this project before the city's Planning Commission next month,” said Amelia Neufeld, Walmart Senior Manager for Public Affairs & Government Relations. “Residents in Tehachapi and the surrounding communities have told us they are excited about the 300 new jobs this store will create, as well as the opportunity to shop locally for household goods and groceries, thus capturing more sales tax revenue for their city's services.”

"The Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council joins the Kern Economic Development Corporation in support of the Walmart project,” said Mary Beth Garrison, 2011 President of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council. “We recognize that the city of Tehachapi is losing consumer income to outlying areas and it is vital that we keep consumers spending local. Walmart has proven to be a necessary attractant to improve business for stores and restaurants and we believe they will be a dependable community partner as well.”

Neufeld said that an independent Fiscal Impact Analysis commissioned by the City of Tehachapi shows that the proposed new Walmart store is expected to generate up to $450,000 in tax revenue per year for the city. 

"The Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council joins the Kern Economic Development Corporation in support of the Walmart project,” said Mary Beth Garrison, 2011 President of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council. “We recognize that the city of Tehachapi is losing consumer income to outlying areas and it is vital that we keep consumers spending local. Walmart has proven to be a necessary attractant to improve business for stores and restaurants and we believe they will be a dependable community partner as well.”

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