Special Sections : Walmart

Wednesday, May 11 2011 02:46 PM

Conflict alleged; city lawyer responds to Nelson's memo

Local resident William Nelson filed a memorandum with the city of Tehachapi Jan. 10 requesting that the Planning Commission “take no action to adopt or approve any document for the referenced Walmart project at its January 10, 2011 meeting.” 

Nelson requested that commissioners Charles White and Kim Nixon recuse themselves from voting on projects in the city's Redevelopment Zone because they have “substantial real property” interests, and 

Nixon owns shares in Starbucks. 

They both administer community non-profit organizations, Nelson said, and Walmart's donations to such non-profits could sway their decisions. 

Nelson also claimed the city failed to be prudent in protecting the city's and public's financial interest in the project. 

He says the Final EIR supplement “is neither competent nor complete,” and that traffic mitigation plans are “vague” and “irresponsible.”

Other objections include insufficient notice about the Jan. 10 meeting, failure to draw up a development agreement with Walmart, the nature of the Walmart Community Services District, 
Redevelopment Agency grants and bad sanitation planning. 

Attorney’s response

Tom Schroeter, attorney for the city, said he was not aware that notice for the meeting had been insufficient.

He said the development agreement that Nelson seeks is an “improvement agreement” used for large subdivisons and protects the parties when a project might take 10 years to accomplish, allowing more time when needed and facilitatingsuch things as freezing impact fees. 

The agreement didn't seem appropriate for Tehachapi, Schroeter said. 

“We want public improvement in place and completed before the building permit is issued.”

Schroeter said that Nelson was correct in pointing out a flaw in the language regarding the Community 
Services District, which places a parcel tax exclusively on Walmart's property taxes that is intended to pay for an extra police officer.

“We corrected it, thanks to his memo,” Schroeter said. 

In another issue where Nelson demanded investigation of the city under the Racketeer Influenced and 
Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Schroeter responded forcefully, saying Nelson is all wrong.

“We have no place in these proceedings for ad hominum attacks. It's false and wrong. It is not relevant. 
There is no substance,” he said.

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