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INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The Inglewood City Council last night formally adopted legislation that will allow greater public input over decisions to let large retailers build superstores.
The ordinance, which passed unanimously, makes Inglewood only the third jurisdiction in the U.S. to enact this type of legislation, and could deal a setback to Wal-Mart's Southern California plans as the retailer pushes into urban markets here and around the country.
"As public officials, we have a responsibility to make sure that major development projects meet the real needs of Inglewood residents," said Councilmember Ralph Franklin, who co-sponsored the proposed ordinance with Councilmember Curren Price. "This law will allow us to determine whether proposed superstores will help or harm our city before any decisions are made."
The Council vote comes more than two years after Inglewood voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure sponsored by Wal-Mart that would have allowed it to construct a superstore without public input or environmental review. Despite the loss of its initiative, Wal-Mart purchased the land designated for the superstore, signaling its intentions to pursue a project in Inglewood.
Inglewood's superstore legislation requires the developers of proposed superstores to pay for an economic impact analysis before their projects can be considered. The ordinance also provides for a public hearing after the completion of the economic impact analysis. Similar laws have been enacted in Los Angeles and Alameda County.
Numerous studies, including one by the City of Los Angeles, have documented the extensive economic impacts of superstores. Until now, however, neither city officials nor community members have had the ability to evaluate the probable impacts of a superstore before a permit was issued, according to the Coalition for a Better Inglewood.