Wal-Mart withdraws from Roseland

February 24, 2009 4:17:45 PM PST
Wal-Mart has decided not to build a store in the Roseland section of Santa Rosa, officials confirmed Tuesday.

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Alicia Donahue, the San Francisco attorney who represented Wal-Mart against a lawsuit filed by opponents of the project, said Wal-Mart did not appeal a Sonoma County Superior Court judge's ruling in September that rejected the project's environmental impact report.

Judge Robert Boyd said the environmental impact report was vague and inconsistent regarding parking, traffic impacts and noise levels.

Wal-Mart had 60 days to appeal the ruling after it became final and that appeal window recently expired. It also could have prepared another environmental report.

"They're not going to appeal. They don't have the approval to continue," Donahue said Tuesday morning.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Loscotoff confirmed the company "made the difficult decision not to proceed with the project."

Marie Meredith, deputy director of planning in the Santa Rosa Community Development Department, said the mega retail store does not have an active file and has not applied for another use permit and design review for the project on Stony Point Road.

Santa Rosa City Attorney Caroline Fowler did not immediately return calls regarding Wal-Mart's intention not to proceed with the project.

Opponents of the project cited the familiar litany of reasons for opposing the project, stating it would put small stores out of business. They also criticized Wal-Mart's business practices regarding pricing, wages and health benefits.

Proponents of the proposed store said it would provide 300 jobs and $500,000 in annual sales tax revenue for cash-strapped Santa Rosa.

Wal-Mart has Sonoma County stores in Windsor and Rohnert Park.

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