Lawsuit filed against Town of Truckee over Raley’s project
After a Truckee Town Council decision to approve construction of a 35,700 square foot Raley’s project at Soaring Ranch, a lawsuit has been filed against the Town of Truckee over the approval.
The petitioners on the lawsuit are Stefanie Olivieri, owner of Cabona’s, and Protect CEQA, the organization behind California’s Environmental Quality Act.
Olivieri’s reasoning for filing the suit was a lack of workforce housing included in the project as well as the need for a more comprehensive study to analyze the economic effects that new grocery stores, Raley’s and a recently approved Grocery Outlet, may have on the Truckee community.
“The fact there is absolutely no workforce housing (with the Raley’s project), is absolutely unacceptable and an egregious insult to this community,” said Olivieri. “We had a right to know what the impacts are on this commercial community.”
The second plaintiff, Protect CEQA, was founded in 2014 forming “a statewide coalition of environmentalists, labor members, and concerned residents committed to protecting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and to promoting smart growth development,” according to the organization’s website. Attorney Andrew Grundman currently serves as the executive director.
Enacted in 1970, the California Environmental Quality Act “requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible,” according to the California Natural Resources Agency.
In December 2017 Protect CEQA retained Tiburon-based Area Research Associates to analyzed the impacts on existing grocery outlets if the proposed supermarkets were to be approved. According to the study, “the food stores category shows an increase in demand through 2023 that could support only one full size grocery store (approximately 50,000 square feet).”
The report suggested that Save Mart would likely close as they would “experience a cumulative impact that would reduce its profitability to 33 percent below break-even threshold.” New Moon Natural Foods was also projected to close with the construction of new stores to “drop profitability at this unit to 27 percent below break-even levels.”
“We’re requesting an urban decay and economic analysis to further understand the impacts of three grocery stores on the existing community,” said Olivieri.
Originally, Truckee was receiving proposals for three new grocery stores, Raley’s, Grocery Outlet and a Nugget Markets that backed out of the Railyard development project following the approval of the Raley’s. Grocery Outlet was approved by the town council on April 26, and was appealed by neighboring residents two days later.
Protect CEQA had also appealed the Grocery Outlet project in February when first approved by the planning commission, citing numerous issues in a 100 page document.
Protect CEQA Executive Director Andrew Grundman declined comment on the issue.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-550-2652.