A California Superior Court judge has suspended construction of two Wal-Mart supercenters in Bakersfield, California, indefinitely.
Judge Kenneth Twisselman ruled that the city council had not adequately examined the urban blight that could result if existing big box stores close after the new supercenters open. Vacant big box stores, the judge said, have significant environmental impacts that the city is required to consider as part of its environmental review process.
The lawsuit was brought by the grassroots group Citizens for Local Control.
According to officials, it will take about six months for the city to study the economic impact of the supercenters and complete another environmental impact statement with information on retail vacancies. At that point, the proposals will go back before the city council.