WAL-MART STORES, INC., v. CITY OF TURLOCK COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT 138 Cal. App. 4th 273, 41 Cal. Rptr. 3d 420, 2006 Cal. App. LEXIS 474 (2006)
SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: Review denied by, Request denied by Wal Mart Stores v. City of Turlock, 2006 Cal. LEXIS 8623 (Cal., July 12, 2006) [**421] DAWSON, J.--The City of Turlock (City) adopted a zoning ordinance that prohibited the development of "big box" retail stores containing a full service grocery department. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust (collectively, Wal-Mart) challenged the validity of the ordinance, claiming City unconstitutionally exceeded its police powers and failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). n1 The superior court ruled the ordinance was a valid exercise of police power and was not subject to further environmental review under CEQA because enactment [*279] of the ordinance was not a "project" for purposes of CEQA and, alternatively, [***2] various exemptions applied.
n1 Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq. All further statutory references are to the Public Resources Code unless otherwise indicated.
We conclude that (1) a city may exercise its police power to control and organize development within its boundaries as a means of serving the general welfare, (2) City made a legitimate policy choice when it decided to organize development using neighborhood shopping centers dispersed throughout the city, (3) the ordinance was reasonably related to protecting that development choice, and (4) no showing was made that the restrictions significantly affected residents of surrounding communities. Accordingly, the restrictions in the [**422] ordinance bear a reasonable relationship to the general welfare and, thus, City constitutionally exercised its police power.
Also, we conclude that further environmental review under CEQA is not necessary because the zoning amendments were consistent with City's general plan and were covered [***3] adequately by the prior environmental impact report (EIR) prepared for the general plan. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15183, subd. (i).) n2 Specifically, the administrative record does not show any reasonably foreseeable project-specific changes in the environment that are significant and peculiar to the zoning amendments or their site. In less technical language, it is too soon for the detailed environmental analysis urged by Wal-Mart. The impacts Wal-Mart wants analyzed are more closely related to later activities and thus are not peculiar to the adoption of the zoning amendments and, consequently, Guidelines section 15183 allows the detailed environmental analysis to be deferred until those later activities are begun.
n2 Title 14, section 15000 et seq. of California Code of Regulations hereafter will be referred to as the Guidelines.
We publish this opinion because no other published opinion has upheld the approval of a project based on the application of the provisions [***4] in Guidelines section 15183. n3 (See Gentry v. City of Murrieta (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1359 [43 Cal. Rptr. 2d 170] [approval of residential development project reversed; on remand, city could consider whether project was partially covered by § 21083.3].)
n3 Its parallel provision in CEQA is section 21083.3. (See generally Remy et al., Guide to the Cal. Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (10th ed. 1999) pp. 511-517 (Remy).) We discuss Guidelines section 15183 instead of the statutory provision because that is the way the parties presented their arguments to this court.