A powerful city committee tried to put the kibosh on plans to install a Walmart Neighborhood Mart in Chinatown this week when it voted in favor of a ban on large retail stores in what it deems to be a historic community.

Forces opposed to the baby Walmart were elated, but it appears that even if the City Council backs up the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, it could be too little, too late:

The would-be Chinatown store already has the permits it needs. Yeah. The City Council made its move in an attempt to prevent “formula” retail stores from moving in — a day after Walmart got its paperwork in order.

Strange, given that the council is largely pro-union, and the unions are the ones against Walmart and its non-labor-hiring ways.

A Neighborhood Mart in Huntington Beach; Credit: Walmart

A Neighborhood Mart in Huntington Beach; Credit: Walmart

On top of that, the L.A. Planning Commission voted against the temporary ban, called an Interim Control Ordinance (ICO).

But Walmart foes are hoping the Planning and Land Use Management Committee will be a step in shooting down the little box store on Cesar Chavez Avenue:

The L.A. Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), the Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED), community residents and small businesses cautiously cheered the PLUM Committee's decision, acknowledging that there was still a large fight ahead to win the final City Council vote.

Because they're also appealing the permits given to Walmart, opponents state, this market might be aborted as the whole matter heads to the full City Council:

If the ICO and the appeals of the building permit are upheld by the full City Council, Walmart would be denied the opportunity to operate in Chinatown.

We'll see.

[Clarification posted at 5:50 p.m.]: A Walmart opponent notes that, technically, the Chinatown store doesn't really have ALL its paperwork in order: Because they still would need a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Building and Safety, Walmart foes argue that this thing isn't a done deal yet.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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