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***FILE ART*** The Antioch Walmart has a new look. The retailer recently remodeled its store on Lone Tree Way in Antioch Calif. to make shopping easier for customers. Here the new remodeled entertainment center displays a new look with more TV's and other items Friday Oct. 22, 2010. The isles are wider and easier for customers to get around.(Dan Rosenstrauch/Staff)
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Walmart's plan to expand its Antioch store into the East Bay's first supercenter has cleared its final legal hurdle after an almost 10-year battle.

The state Supreme Court decided this week not to hear a petition by a coalition of environmental, civil rights and labor groups over an appellate court decision last November affirming Antioch City Council's September 2010 approval of Walmart's development plan.

The big-box retailer's planned 33,575-square-foot expansion and remodel would include a bakery, produce, full-service deli and enhanced outdoor living department.

The California Healthy Communities Network has argued the council's decision should have required full environmental studies looking at potential urban decay in the area, including economic and environmental effects such as increased traffic and impacts to other grocery stores.

Phil Tucker, project director for the Healthy Communities Network, contends that the Contra Costa Superior Court's decision in October 2011 was right in saying Antioch misinterpreted its laws when requiring environmental studies historically but abruptly not doing so in 2010.

The 1st District Court of Appeal reversed that ruling in November.

City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland said in an email that Antioch is "pleased that the Supreme Court found no reason to question (its) planning and environmental procedures for development proposals."


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Tucker acknowledged Thursday that the Supreme Court's dismissal ends any further legal challenges.

Walmart is in the process of moving forward with its expansion plans, Rachel Wall, a company spokeswoman said.

"Grocery is an area that customers have come to expect from Walmart, and we look forward to soon starting work on our store expansion," Wall wrote in an email.

Antioch can issue building permits once Walmart submits drawings and documents that comply with its conditions of approval and city building code, according to city planners.

Tucker said that the Healthy Communities Network will still work with local residents opposed to the expansion and "monitor (the project) to make sure they follow the rules."

Walmart submitted plans in 2004 -- four years after its store opened -- to expand its 134,000-square-foot store on Lone Tree Way.

In both 2007 and 2010, Antioch required Walmart to review the environmental effects of building the supercenter, twice rejecting its environmental documents in split decisions.

But, Antioch's council reversed its decision in August 2010 after legal counsel for Walmart and the city argued that it could not consider environmental issues in a design review application, citing a case involving a San Diego redevelopment project.

The original approval for Williamson Ranch Plaza in 1998 allowed for Walmart's expansion.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

Walmart Timeline
This week's Supreme Court decision is the latest development in Walmart's years-long effort to expand its Antioch store into the East Bay's first supercenter.
Here is a timeline:
January 2000 -- Walmart opens 134,000-square-foot store at Lone Tree Way and Hillcrest Avenue.
June 2004 -- Walmart announces intention to expand store by 72,980 square feet and turn it into a 24-hour supercenter. City says it must study traffic and noise effects.
Sept. 20, 2006 -- Planning Commission approves environmental study; appeal is filed.
October 2006 -- City Council hears arguments for and against expansion and delays decision.
February 2007 -- City Council rejects Walmart's plans for 64,980-square-foot expansion.
January 2010 -- Walmart submits new plans to Antioch, calling for 33,575-square-foot expansion and no 24-hour operations; city says it must study environmental effects.
May 2010 -- Planning Commission approves Walmart expansion plans; decision is appealed to City Council.
July 2010 -- City Council rejects Walmart expansion, citing economic concerns.
August 2010 -- Proposal brought back to council after city legal counsel determines that environmental review is not needed for expansion.
Sept. 28, 2010 -- City Council approves Walmart expansion.
October 2010 -- Walmart opponents file lawsuit over city's decision.
Oct. 13, 2011 -- Contra Costa Superior Court sides with Walmart opponents, effectively reversing city's decision.
January 2012 -- Walmart files appeal with state Court of Appeal.
Nov. 27, 2012 -- Appellate court reverses Contra Costa Superior Court ruling, allowing Walmart expansion to proceed.
January 2013 -- Walmart opponents file petition for review with California Supreme Court.
March 2013 -- State Supreme Court denies review of the Appellate court ruling.