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Letter: City was in breach of its obligations

October 22, 2013
  • The Great Indoors at the Empire Center in Burbank on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Sears has sold the site to WalMart paving the way for the megadiscount store to move into the center next to its main competitor Target.
The Great Indoors at the Empire Center in Burbank on Tuesday,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

With all of the pending development in the city (the proposed hotels downtown, the expansion of the airport terminal, Talaria at Burbank, the vacant Osh store), I encourage every interested resident to read the L.A. Superior Court's final ruling on Ingalsbee, etc. v. City of Burbank and Walmart Stores, Inc. It can be found online.

Whether you were for or against a Walmart at the former location of the Great Indoors, it is worth noting that the judge found that “the City has proceeded in a manner not authorized by law, failed to conduct any environmental assessment when the facts and circumstances clearly require at least an initial inquiry, and failed to exercise its discretion when clearly required to do so as to specific elements of the proposed development.”

The ruling also states that “The failure to carry out the specified roadway improvements [at the Empire Center development] is a material breach by the City of its mandatory duty and of its obligations under the final environmental impact report, to the substantial detriment to the public.”

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Furthermore, the judge found that city staff withheld from the City Council information that was critical to the making of informed decisions and that “there was a deliberate suppression of the need for certain traffic mitigation measures as well as a failure to advise the City Council that permitting a grocery operation in the new Walmart could be done, but only with the discretionary approvals of two key city staffers.”

We owe a debt of gratitude to residents Ingalsbee, Olson and Ziraldo for exposing the city's material breach of its mandatory duty and obligations. We need to remain vigilant about all development in Burbank. Only by scrutiny of the residents will City Council and city staff be held accountable.

Julie D'Angelo
Burbank

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