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2007-09-11
Ontario, CA. Wal-Mart Puts Lipstick On A Pig

On January 20, 2007, Sprawl-Busters reported that residents in Ontario, California were organizing to fight a Home Depot project. Now they've got a second big box store wanting to get in. Ontario calls itself the "gateway to Southern California." The city is located 35 miles east of Los Angeles, and has a population of roughly 173,000 people. Ontario says it has been one of southern California's fastest-growing areas over the past 25 years. The city boasts that it has "superior convenience" within Southern California which "enables local businesses to capture taxable sales from residents of surrounding communities." Ontario even has an official song, "Beautiful Ontario." The resident customer base within a 10 mile radius is more than 800,000 people. The per capita taxable sales of $30,336 is the largest of the region's cities of over 100,000 residents. So the city has been heavily retailed already. According to the Daily Bulletin newspaper, residents of northwest Ontario have organized to do battle with a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter at Mountain Avenue and Fifth Street. The project was approved by the Ontario Planning Commission on August 30th. But several days ago, a group called the Ontario Mountain Village Association, together with resident John Logue, filed an appeal to overturn the Planning Board vote at the city council. The group is represented by Attorney Cory Briggs of San Diego. The appeal charges that Wal-Mart's environmental impact report did not adequately describe the project and all of its environmental impacts, and was based on outdated or incorrect information and lacked sufficient evidence. The residents claim that the city did not come up with sufficient "findings" to show that the positives outweigh the negatives of the project. The proposal is also inconsistent with the city's General Plan for land use. The group is challenging the development plan and the granting of a conditional use permit. The appeal also charges that the city has a financial interest in the project and the applicant, therefore any favorable decision would be a conflict of interest. Attorney Briggs has asked for a copy of all city records dealing with the Wal-Mart application. The citizen's appeal is expected to be heard soon by the city council. "We think the severity of the traffic and air-quality impacts have been understated," Briggs told the newspaper. "As bad as they were reported in the Environmental Impact Report, we think they're even worse. They're still trying to put lipstick on a pig."

What you can do: There are 19 Wal-Marts within 20 miles of Ontario, including a supercenter 6 miles away in Chino. So there is no market need for additional supercenters. The proposed Ontario store will end up shutting down some existing grocery stores, and some existing Wal-Mart discount stores, like the 4 discount stores Wal-Mart already owns within 5 miles of this site. Readers are urged to contact Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, and the 5 member City Council at (909) 395-2011. Tell the Mayor and Council: "Ontario is already choking on big box sprawl, you don't need a Wal-Mart supercenter. All you will do is create a trade area war with the Wal-Mart in Chino. The Ontario Mountain Village Association is right: this is no place for a huge supercenter."











 
 
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