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Walmart opponents to hold protest outside Burbank City Hall

September 20, 2011|By Jason Wells, jason.wells@latimes.com

Opponents of planned Walmart adjacent to the Empire Center in Burbank plan to stage a protest rally today on the steps of City Hall.

Walmart last week confirmed plans to move into the former Great Indoors site after weeks of speculation. A spokesman for the mega-retailer said a public input meeting would be scheduled to give residents a chance to weigh in on the store's offerings.

But for some residents, no Walmart is the preferred option, and they plan to make their stance known at a protest rally at 5:30 p.m. outside City Hall before the City Council meeting. In their announcement, the group called on city officials to commission an independent economic impact report on the the potential effects of a Walmart on the community.

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Walmart opponents contend the retailer drives out local competitors, negating any positive gains on the sales tax revenue front. Walmart representatives say that contention is a myth, and that the retailer donates millions of dollars each year to local causes.

Burbank officials have said the 12-acre Great Indoors site, purchased by Walmart in June, is zoned for commercial/retail use, and so as long as the property conforms to the rules, there's little they can do.

Kate Nixa, an organizer for the protest rally, said in a statement that "residents should have a choice when a retailer can potentially affect their community in such a dramatic way."

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