Walmart’s move into Burbank appeared headed for a snag in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday after a judge said he was prepared to halt planned construction pending further review of the retail giant’s impact on the city.
A main point of contention at the hearing in downtown Los Angeles was whether city officials should have issued permits allowing Walmart to renovate the former Great Indoors site adjacent to the Empire Center without having completed two street projects to improve traffic flow.
Opponents say a Walmart would inundate the area with traffic and wreak havoc on aging infrastructure. City officials argued that the projects — including more turn lanes on key intersections on Buena Vista Street at Victory Boulevard and Empire Avenue — have been “substantially” completed, and that recent traffic studies show that a rush to complete the road work isn’t needed.
But the judge on Friday said he planned to issue a written ruling in the coming days that would effectively prevent Walmart from starting construction until further review of the impacts could be completed.