Here are a few points we weren’t able to fit into our story on Los Angeles’ superstore law.

  • One advantage that proponents of the Los Angeles solution point to over a ban is leverage.

They said city officials would be able to point to any parts of the economy that would be negatively impacted by a superstore and ask the developer to remedy any deficiencies — whether it be with regards to wages, prices, jobs or blight — with their own money before the project is approved.

“Is Wal-Mart willing to pay living wages and health care?” Are they willing to put in affordable housing or allow the community to be involved in the tenant selection (in the surrounding shopping center)?” said Elliot Petty, a policy advocate for the left-leaning Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. “If they’re willing to do those things, then maybe the community is willing to have them.”

  • Big-box stores of very large sizes, regardless of whether they sell groceries, are already subjected to some of the review that Councilwoman Donna Frye wants for superstores.

Accompanying the legislation for the superstore ban were some guidelines Mayor Jerry Sanders proposed for big-box stores. They were finalized by the council in June and were not part of Sanders’ veto.

For stores that are between 50,000 square feet and 99,999 square feet, a developer must obtain a “neighborhood development permit.” Under this level of review, discretion over a project rests with city staff, but its decision can be appealed to the Planning Commission.

For stores that are more than 100,000 square feet, a developer must earn a “site development permit,” which requires the Planning Commission’s approval. The commission’s decision can be appealed to the City Council.

If a store also exceeds 120,000 feet, an economic impact report must be conducted before officials weigh in.

Frye said she wants to require an economic analysis and a permit for superstores, which are defined as being 90,000 square feet in size and having 10 percent of its floor space used for grocery sales. Superstores would also have to be approved by the City Council, which would consider a recommendation by the Planning Commission, under Frye’s proposal.

  • While Wal-Mart said it does not have any immediate plans to open a Supercenter in the city of San Diego, the company continues to roll them out elsewhere in the region.

Wal-Mart, which reportedly wants to locate 40 Supercenters in California, opened its 28th store today in Lancaster, a desert city in northeastern Los Angeles County, company spokesman Aaron Rios said.

And while the company said it has no current proposal for building a Supercenter in the city of San Diego, Wal-Mart announced plans last week for two Supercenters in Chula Vista. The two proposed expansions are currently regular Wal-Mart stores.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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