Gilroy Super Wal-Mart EIR, City of Gilroy

EMC Planning Group prepared an EIR for the proposed super Wal-Mart in the City of Gilroy. The proposed project was the development of a 219,622 square-foot retail store on 20.88 acres within the Pacheco Pass shopping center, near State Route 152 on the east side of Gilroy. The proposed project would encompass a variety of retail uses.  Wal-Mart super center stores are differentiated from standard Wal-Mart retail stores principally in the incorporation of a full service grocery store within the same building. In addition to the main grocery and general merchandise sales areas, there would be a garden center, pharmacy, photo center, optical center, and tire and lube service.

The EIR focused on potential traffic, air quality, and agricultural resources impacts. An economic impact analysis prepared under contract to the City of Gilroy concluded that the project would not lead to a significant adverse physical change in the environment, such as physical deterioration of structures and blight. Therefore, the EIR did not address impacts from potential urban decay.

A citizens group challenged the City of Gilroy on the adequacy of the EIR. The trial court rejected the petition and the citizen group appealed. The citizens group argued that the City of Gilroy’s notice and noticing procedure was inadequate; claimed that an initial study was required; claimed that a second economic impact analysis was required; and that the air quality analysis, mitigations, and response to air district comments on the draft EIR were all inadequate. The Sixth District Court of Appeals rejected the challenge and held the record reflected a good-faith effort to comply with the statute’s procedural and substantive requirements. The supercenter was subsequently developed.