By William Abbott
Must a CEQA document for a supercenter always address urban decay? The answer is no according to the Fifth Appellate District, the same court which rendered the earlier ruling on a supercenter in Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1184. The story begins in 2006 when the City of Madera certified an EIR for a retail center, consisting of 795,000 square feet of gross floor area. The conceptual site plan showed one anchor of 125,000 square feet. Following annexation approval in February, 2007 of the site to the City, the developer submitted to the City a refined site plan which now included an anchor tenant a “Super Target” of 194,484 square feet, excluding the garden outdoor sales area. The total square footage for the retail center remained unchanged. The City’s Community Development Department approved the refined site plan in May, and in June, the Planning Commission considered an addendum to the EIR, and recommended approval of a development agreement. In turn, the City Council considered the addendum and approved the development agreement in August. The staff report and addendum both concluded that there were no new impacts, different from those considered in the previously certified EIR. No one testified in opposition. However, a lawsuit challenging approval of the revised site plan was filed the same day as the council was considering the development agreement. The trial court denied the writ petition.