Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Coast Is Clear For Wal-Mart In Fairfield

Coast Is Clear For Wal-Mart In Fairfield
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | November 27, 2007 17:04

FAIRFIELD - The list of obstacles to the construction of a new Wal-Mart in Fairfield is almost gone.

City attorneys confirmed Tuesday the legal challenge to a proposed Wal-Mart store on North Texas Street died in court last week. Opponents didn't appeal an earlier court ruling, seemingly clearing the way for the project.

A Solano County Superior Court judge ruled Sept. 20 in favor of the city, which was being challenged on the validity of the environmental studies it had conducted on the effects of the store. Opponents, a group called Fairfield Neighbors Promoting Smart Growth, had 60 days to appeal but did not do so, Fairfield City Attorney Greg Stepanicich said.

Stepanicich is attempting to speak with the plaintiffs' lawyer to confirm they are no longer pursuing an appeal, but he hasn't done so yet, he added. However, the 60-day appeal window ended Nov. 19, and the city hasn't been notified of any appeals.

Representatives from the group haven't responded to requests for interviews since the lawsuit went to court. The suit was filed in January, about a month after the City Council unanimously approved the store at a special meeting Dec. 6, 2006. That overrode a split vote by the planning commission that would have stalled the project.

The council vote gave the world's largest retailer permission to go ahead with plans to knock down the mostly abandoned Mission Village Shopping Center on North Texas Street and build a 185,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter, complete with a garden area and a full-service grocery. But those plans have largely idled since the lawsuit was filed in January.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Loscotoff said the company is pleased to have the legal challenge out of the way and move on toward securing demolition and building permits.

'The next step is for us to finalize our construction (and) building plan, and work though the city of Fairfield's permit process,' he said.

Depending on that process, the company hopes to have permits by summer 2008 and start demolition by that fall, Loscotoff said. He has said in the past a grand opening could occur as early as spring 2009.

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

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