Apr 23, 2013 9:06 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News
Opening a Walmart in Atascadero has been the topic of debate for more than 6 years.
Last year, the anti-Walmart group, Save Atascadero, sued the city claiming the project violated environmental laws.
San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford tentatively ruled against Save Atascadero. According to the tentative ruling, the city has not broken any laws with its plans to build a Walmart shopping center.
"We expect this to be an anchor for many other businesses," said Atascadero Mayor Tom O'Malley. "It means immediate jobs and construction. It means a lot more sales tax and property tax revenue for our community."
He said Walmart already purchased the land at the corner of Del Rio Road and El Camino Real. He went on to say, if the tentative ruling becomes final, the big box store is ready to begin construction.
"We have had more public process on Walmart in Atascadero than any other project in our community. I think we have well vetted every issue," he said.
Issues like environmental concerns, traffic and costly road improvements were all part of the lawsuit filed against the City by Lee Perkins and Tom Comar, who created the community group, Save Atascadero.
"We are disappointed with the ruling and our lawyers are looking at it. We have 60 days to appeal. We will see if there are sufficient grounds to do so in that tentative ruling," said Comar.
In a closed door session at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, the city attorney will make any additional recommendations to city leaders on how to move forward. Once final paperwork is submitted to the court, the judge will make the final call.
"I think many folks are looking forward to this Walmart," said Mayor O'Malley.
"I think it would be a great thing for this town," said Earl Bailey, who lives near Atascadero.
"I would love it. The congestion is so bad in Paso Robles, this would be quicker and easier," said Sandi Redman.
The closest Walmart to Atascadero is in Paso Robles.
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