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Groups want restraining order to stop work on Chinatown Walmart (updated)

A man walks out of a boarded up Walmart


Two groups are seeking a temporary restraining order to stop construction on a neighborhood Walmart store in Chinatown. A court hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

The ongoing fight over the Chinatown Walmart continued Wednesday as two groups announced plans to go to court and get a restraining order that would stop construction on the new store.

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 770 will be in court Friday morning to ask a judge to halt construction on the Walmart going in at Cesar Chavez and Grand Avenue. The two groups have already filed a lawsuit to stop the project, but organizers now want construction to stop until their Nov. 13 court date or until city officials hear their administration's appeal to block the project.

There was no immediate comment from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. A spokesman for Walmart said the company remains focused on opening a neighborhood store in Chinatown.


Chinatown ban on big-box stores too late to stop Walmart

Kylie Reynolds

A ban on big-box stores in the Chinatown area is moving onto the L.A. City Council but even if it is ultimately approved, it wil be too late to stop Walmart from moving into the neighborhood.

A proposal to ban big box retailers in the Chinatown area will move forward over the objections of the Planning Commission. However, the ordinance comes too late to stop Walmart from moving into the neighborhood.

In a 2-1 vote Tuesday, members of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee sent the proposal—known as an interim control ordinance—on to the Los Angeles City Council. The ban, which could last from 45 days to two years, would block retailers that have 11 or more locations with standardized merchandise or facades from opening stores 20,000-square-feet or larger in the Chinatown neighborhood.

Councilman Ed Reyes introduced the ban when he learned that Walmart planned to open a neighborhood market at Grand and Cesar Chavez avenues. If the interim control ordinance is ultimately approved, it would not apply to the Walmart location because the company obtained a building permit prior to introduction of the proposal.


Chinatown's big-box ban headed to LA City Council committee

Mercer 3951

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Ed Reyes will present his ban on big-box retailers to the Planning Committee, even though the lower Planning Commission rejected it.

A proposal to ban major retailers in the Chinatown area may have been rejected by the Planning Commission, but today its author said he will push the issue to the Los Angeles City Council’s planning committee. 

Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents the Chinatown area, will bring his proposed interim control ordinance to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee. Both the Planning Commission and departmental staffers rejected the ban, which was introduced when Walmart announced plans to open a neighborhood grocery store at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues.

“We should always strive to preserve and to protect the qualities of our city that make our neighborhoods unique,” said Reyes, who also chairs the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

“Chinatown is deserving of such protections. Chinatown is a community of unique historical significance to the city of Los Angeles. It is our intent to continue to work with the community to preserve its historic nature, and the balance and diversity of services there, while working closely with the local businesses.”


Planning Commission rejects ban on major retailers in Chinatown

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A proposal to ban major retailers, like Walmart, from opening up in Chinatown was rejected by the Planning Commission.

A proposal to ban major retailers in the Chinatown area was rejected today by members of the Planning Commission, who found city council members were trying to fix a problem that doesn’t yet exist.

Four months ago, Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes requested an interim control ordinance on big-box retailers, which would temporarily ban those businesses from opening up in a small part of his district. The move was prompted by news that Walmart planned to open a neighborhood store in a vacant building at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues. The company received its final permit from Building and Safety one day before the ordinance was proposed.

Under the proposed ordinance, companies defined as “formula retail uses” would be prevented from opening up a store greater than 20,000 square feet in the area between the Harbor (110) Freeway, Alameda Street, Cesar Chavez Avenue and Cottage Home Street. Formula retailers are defined as having 11 or more stores and two of the following:


Appeal filed against permits in Chinatown Wal-Mart fiasco

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A community group has filed an appeal to try and prevent the construction of a 33,000-square-foot Wal-Mart in Chinatown.

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy has challenged the building permits claiming that local businesses and communities will be disrupted by its mega presence. Other residents support the plan.

Wal-Mart secured the necessary building permits last week, one day before City Council was set to vote on a Chinatown building moratorium for large retail chains.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart claims that a number of special interest groups are working to halt economic development, shopping opportunities and jobs creation in the area.