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Raley’s may have to quiet delivery truck beeps before it can build a new store, judge says

Raley’s hopes to build a new supermarket on Freeport Boulevard
Raley’s hopes to build a new supermarket on Freeport Boulevard

A Sacramento judge said this week he is likely to order the city of Sacramento to take a deeper look at noise impacts before it moves forward with a proposed Raley’s supermarket on Freeport Boulevard at the former Capital Nursery site in Land Park.

The preliminary ruling stems from several residents’ complaints that the city OK’d a 55,000-square-foot supermarket adjacent to residential backyards without properly analyzing and mitigating for negative effects on the neighborhood, notably truck and loading dock noise in back delivery areas.

The Raley’s store, proposed for the site at Freeport Boulevard and Wentworth Avenue, would replace the existing Raley’s a block to the south. Besides the store itself, the new Raley’s complex would include six smaller buildings for restaurants or stores.

The lawsuit, filed in December, challenged the project on several fronts, including the aesthetics of a planned 12-foot wall at the back of the property along neighboring backyards. It also challenged the city’s review of zoning issues and traffic impacts, and said the city did not adequately consider alternative site plans, including moving the Raley’s closer to Freeport Boulevard.

Residents pointed out that Capital Nursery’s buildings and most of its activity were located at the front of its sprawling property, near Freeport Boulevard. The back lot, filled with outdoor rows of plants and shrubs, acted as a buffer zone that limited noise drifting into the neighborhood to the west.

In a tentative ruling issued Thursday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger found that the city’s environmental impact analysis overall was adequate, except for the noise issue. A final ruling is expected in the coming weeks.

The judge pointed out that 30 to 40 truck deliveries are anticipated each week, most of them between 6 a.m. and noon, and that trucks will be beeping when backing up.

“The backup alarm is loud,” the court wrote, exceeding the city’s noise standard.

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

“We are amendable to that,” Raley’s spokeswoman Chelsea Minor said. “We have been working toward a solution. We want this project to move forward.”

Minor said on Friday the company intends to begin construction as soon as it is legally allowed. Raley’s sent a crew to the site in July to remove weeds in response to fire concerns and is putting together a maintenance plan, Minor said.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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