Business & Real Estate

Should residents have been able to challenge Raley’s project? Judge isn’t so sure

Rendering of the proposed Raley’s store on Freeport Boulevard
Rendering of the proposed Raley’s store on Freeport Boulevard

A Sacramento judge is questioning whether a group of South Land Park residents should have been allowed to file suit against a proposed Raley’s supermarket on Freeport Boulevard.

Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger said he is not sure those residents adequately informed the city of their noise concerns before the city approved the project. If they didn’t, he said in a statement to the attorneys last week, the lawsuit may not have legal standing.

Krueger last week asked attorneys on both sides of the issue to offer him their legally researched opinions on whether the residents properly expressed their noise concerns before filing the lawsuit, back when the city was soliciting public opinions on potential downsides of the project.

The lawsuit, filed a year ago by residents who live in the neighborhood behind the proposed Raley’s site, contends the city approved a 55,000-square-foot supermarket adjacent to residential backyards without properly analyzing and mitigating for negative effects, including truck and loading dock noise in back delivery areas.

The store, proposed at the former site of Capital Nursery on Freeport Boulevard at Wentworth Avenue, would replace the existing Raley’s a block to the south. The new complex also would include six smaller buildings for restaurants or stores.

In his statement to the attorneys, Krueger noted that the city’s noise analysis contains a flaw. It stated that sound walls between stores and backyards typically reduce delivery truck noise by 5 to 10 decibels, but it concluded without any further explanation that the sound wall for this project will reduce noise by at least 16 decibels.

He also said the city appeared to have inappropriately rounded down one noise level estimate in order to say it meets city noise standards.

But, he said, no one appears to have challenged the city on the those specific flaws during the period when the city was soliciting reactions to its environmental assessment. If not, he asks: Do they have the right to base their current lawsuit on those issues?

He has given attorneys in the case until Dec. 8 to offer their arguments. The attorneys for the city and for the plaintiffs did not respond to a Bee request for comment Tuesday.

The judge, in his statement, also asked the two sides if they are willing to discuss how to reduce the amount of beeping made by trucks when backing up. An estimated 30 to 40 truck deliveries are anticipated each week, most between 6 a.m. and noon.

Interim City Attorney Matt Ruyak and Raley’s officials said in September they are willing to agree to a stipulation that trucks silence their beepers.

Raley’s spokeswoman Chelsea Minor on Tuesday said her company and its partners “remain committed to developing this project. We believe strongly it will be a great addition to the Land Park community.

“We expect the ruling to come in December. We are going to await the judge’s ruling before outlining future construction. Pending a positive outcome, we will move forward with construction.”

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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