Three people in Burbank sued the city Friday because they believe officials broke the law when they cleared the way to issue building permits for a new Wal-Mart.
After the group voiced concerns at city council meetings and in writing, its lawyer says a lawsuit was the last resort.
"We believe that Wal-Mart must follow the same rules as everyone else. This lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart got special treatment from the city concerning traffic and parking impacts in this very congested part of the city," said Attorney Gideon Kracov, who represents the group.
Burbank City Attorney Amy Albano said she believes officials have complied with building requirements.
“All I can say is that the city had followed all the appropriate processes and that Wal-Mart is an allowable use by right at that site," she said.
The people who’ve sued are asking the city to submit an environmental impact report, complete road repairs at two intersections and ensure enough parking spaces to meet code outside the Wal-Mart’s planned location adjacent to the Empire Center. Until Burbank takes those actions, the lawsuit asks a judge to order the city to halt approval for the building project.
Rachel Wall, senior manager of Community Affairs at Wal-Mart, emailed a statement reacting to the lawsuit:
“This lawsuit is another attempt by a small number of individuals associated with special interest groups that want to stall access to affordable prices and economic opportunities including new jobs and additional tax revenue," it said. "We know the community of Burbank wants and needs this project, as demonstrated by the hundreds of residents who turned out for the open house last fall, the countless number of supportive letters to the editor, and ongoing dialogue with residents excited about the new job opportunities."
This story has been updated with a response from Wal-Mart.