LA zoning gives Walmart a green light

Dec. 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A zoning official in Los Angeles denied requests to nullify building permits for a Walmart store slated for Chinatown.

Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo applauded the decision by Associate Zoning Administrator Maya Zaitzevsky, who refused to toss out the permits. Zaitzevsky's decision is "a clear message to those who seek to block economic development only to serve their own special interests," Restivo said.

"We look forward to soon opening our doors and providing the community what they have wanted all along: A new choice for their grocery shopping needs," he said in a statement.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy attempted to have the building permits nullified.

Opposition groups said city officials rushed the decision for Walmart to have permits issued before a City Council vote on a law that would ban large retail chains from Chinatown.

The contested store is expected to open in the spring of 2013 on the ground floor of the Grand Plaza, a six-story apartment building with retail space on the ground floor.

They also said the Walmart grocery store, which will be about one-fifth the size of most Walmart stores, would hurt local businesses and clash with the culture of Chinatown.

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance would likely file an appeal to challenge the decision, said the group's attorney Gideon Kracov.

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